February 1, 2008 · Print This Article
Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been reading around the web about the proposed Microsoft purchase of Yahoo! There’s some interesting commentary out there.
This is just as well for Yahoo, which had no strategy, really. They’d gone as far as they could with the old-media model, as exploited by the last CEO, former movie-studio head Terry Semel. Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang started saying the right things about turning Yahoo into a platform, but it probably would have taken years to turn his culture around. They were too used to operating like a movie studio or publishing house.
Will this be big enough to beat Google? No, because big won’t win in the end. Open will.
If Yahoo agrees to the deal with Microsoft, it will be a shotgun marriage, but it will be Google holding the shotgun.
If Yahoo’s management says “yes, I do”, it will be an admission that its attempts to turn around the company have failed.
Yahoo shareholders, in turn, will not be able to believe their luck. Microsoft was probably the only company with pockets deep enough to bail them out.
For Microsoft, however, this is the deal that could break it.
Making the offer is an admission that Microsoft’s management has been scared by the success of Google.
what makes Yahoo/Microsoft interesting is the email audience. That’s another 300 million people to add to Hotmail’s audience of close to the same. Yahoo has a ton of interesting Web properties that are far more interesting than anything Microsoft has done lately. Groups. Finance. Upcoming. Etc.
This gets Microsoft back into the Web game in a big way and puts a defense around Microsoft’s Office cash-generating-machine. I bet that some of Yahoo’s smartest engineers get moved over to the Office team to help build an online Office that’ll keep Google’s docs and spreadsheets from getting major marketshare inroads.
It’s the fear that Google’s Docs and Spreadsheets might someday take marketshare away from Office that I think was driving this deal.
Yahoo! is great at content and online innovation, though. That’s what Microsoft needs right now. Google is posing a threat to Microsoft not just because it is winning in advertising, where Microsoft is a relative beginner, but because Google is shifting the software world to online.
Microsoft is serious about innovation, they just haven’t been doing much of it in house for awhile. The Live.com work and the Microsoft acquisitions in the health space indicate to me the company really is trying to do more than just catch up in search and advertising.
I think that this acquisition is going to mean a whole lot more energy put behind services like Flickr and Del.icio.us and innovative content sites like Yahoo! Sports and Finance. All of that will be good for Microsoft and it will be good for those of us who find those sites and services inspiring.
1. It will happen. Neither company can afford for it to not happen, and no-one will outbid Microsoft given its dire need. About the only way Yahoo could keep it from happening would be to cut a quick deal to outsource its search to Google, which would be smart, savvy, and MicroHoo-killing — and almost certainly won’t happen.
2. It won’t (really) matter. Some more scale in search will help Microsoft, no question, but the fundamental problem is that Microsoft is trapped between two worlds and has an absence of vision. That has been holding it back, not engineers and not ownership of Yahoo pageviews. Microsoft isn’t doomed — far from it — but buying a broken asset doesn’t turn it into a BrinPage-killer either.
3. It’s good for Google. Two elephants mating are always good for confusing customers and helping incumbents, not to mention improving margins. You will see Google gain surplus search and advertising share as this deal comes together.
I’m still not sure this works. I don’t see how the two cultures merge. But perhaps that’s not the point. Perhaps at the end of the day, Yahoo becomes Microsoft’s long misbegotten media arm, and the folks in Redmond can finally stop worrying about what their focus is.
There’s a six-letter reason this deal was struck and it begins with G and ends with -oogle. The specter of the search giant’s dominance was raised at least four times on the conference call, both as the reason the two firms should combine as well as an assurance as to why Google couldn’t make its own bid for Yahoo.
“All of us see this industry growing through consolidation. Today the market is completely dominated by one player and by combining the asset of Microsoft and Yahoo…the industry will be better served by having more players in search and advertising,” said Kevin Johnson, president of the platforms & services division of Microsoft.
My first reaction: “That’s a lot to pay for flickr.”
Does Yahoo + Microsoft make sense?
Nahh. It’s like the dead leading the blind.
And there’s tonnes more. Just check out Techmeme.