Today in the Fortune 500: Yahoo’s ego problem, Comcast starts to cut the cord and McDonald’s vs. the food police.

December 14, 2010, 6:34 PM UTC
Yahoo! Japan
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The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

YAHOO IS NOT THE ONLY SMART GUY, says the owner of most of Yahoo’s Asian assets, billionaire Masayoshi Son, but the fact that it thought it was hurt the company. Son’s assets combined with Yahoo’s (YHOO) cash account for over half of Yahoo’s total value. In an interview, he said Yahoo should have formed equal partnerships with other countries during its global expansion. Instead, he said, Yahoo’s mentality was, “You’re the only smart guy and those slaves in the poor countries are dumb guys.” [New York Times]

AND ITS LOSING TALENT The company continues to hemorrhage employees. Yahoo plans to cut 5% of its workforce, mostly from its products group, which will amount to about 650 jobs. [Wall Street Journal]

COMCAST’S QUEST FOR XCALIBUR The cable network is in trial stages for a new service–that test subjects in Augusta, Gerogia know as “Spectrum” but the company calls “Xcalibur”–which streams Internet and TV content through a set top box. This is Comcast’s (CMCSA) first web-integrated cable service, and its part of the effort to regain some of the roughly 275,000 cable customers who terminated their subscriptions at the end of 2010. [Wall Street Journal]

LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPY MEALS Fast food giant McDonald’s (MCD) lashed out against the San Francisco board of supervisors who voted to prevent restaurants from targeting marketing of fatty meals to children by pairing them with toys. McDonald’s CEO calls Happy Meal critics “food police” who limit parents’ personal choice. [Financial Times]

CRUZE CONTROL GM (GM) has a small window to sell the public on its new car, the Chevy Cruze, before rival models form Honda and Ford are released in 2011. Chevy will need a compact car that sells well in the event that gas prices spike. [USA Today]

QATAR COURTS BIG OIL FOR GAS PROJECTS The Middle Eastern country wants to partner with Fortune 500 oil and gas companies to help develop its copious liquefied natural gas resources. Some of the companies in talks with Qatar include ConocoPhillips (COP), Exxon Mobil (XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) and Chevron (CVX). [Bloomberg]

MUSIC IS PART OF TARGET’S DNA an executive from the company said, explaining why it could compete with major music retailer Wal-mart (WMT). Target (TGT) sealed a deal with country star Taylor Swift, which should help rack up CD sales. Amazon (AMZN) is similarly squaring off against Apple’s (APPL)  iTunes, and has tried to poach sales by offering hit albums at low prices, with limited success. [ABC News]

I WANT TO BE LIKE BUFFET Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a Tel Aviv business conference. Netanyahu stated that the Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) CEO’s simple and clear economic policies provide a good model for financial growth in Israel. [Bloomberg]