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Why Yahoo Turned Microsoft Down

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the you-scratch-my-back dept.

Yahoo! 161

quarterbuck writes "The NYTimes has up a great blog post that explains a bit of the backstory behind the Yahoo-Microsoft No-deal. While Jerry Yang did not want to sell the company, it is not likely that he could have said No to Microsoft, and explained it to shareholders, without the help of Google. The article gives reasons behind Google's tossing a lifeline to its biggest competitor, and the 'coop-etition' that has been going on between the two companies, which both emerged out of Stanford University."

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161 comments

Jerry has an irrational fear (5, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23315888)

of chairs.

Jerry's statement (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23316660)

Jerry's sentiment was that he mismanaged Yahoo into it's present situation, and he would prefer to mismanage Yahoo out of it all by himself.

Re:Jerry has an irrational fear (1)

The Standard Deviant (869317) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316972)

A rational fear, surely?

Re:Jerry has an irrational fear (2, Funny)

Cyclops (1852) | more than 6 years ago | (#23319128)

Don't worry Jerry, all the chairs have been occupied in Portugal ;)

Yahoo is worth more than M$ offered (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23315922)

Just kidding!

Yahoo wants to make sure that people learn once and for all that .com companies are a terrible investment (unless you like losing money).

Re:Yahoo is worth more than M$ offered (2, Interesting)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316002)

That's funny because I made a small fortune on the Google IPO. I sold and put it into safer investments since that time and don't regret it, however. I think it's way overvalued at the present time but I was happy to take my profits and run.

Re:Yahoo is worth more than M$ offered (2, Interesting)

n1_111 (597775) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316656)

I am making a fortune on YHOO right now. Bought in right after the panic on monday.

Re:Yahoo is worth more than M$ offered (2)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317126)

I was going to hop on that bandwagon but I think I'm going to hold for a couple weeks. I feel a big announcement coming soon and I want to let the current holders fester scared first before I grab their goods at a lower price.

*sigh* I love capitalism!

Re:Yahoo is worth more than M$ offered (1)

yomegaman (516565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23319302)

It's only dead-cat-bounced about 10%, if I'm not mistaken. That's nothing to sneeze at, but you'd have to buy a ton of it to make a fortune.

Time will tell... (5, Interesting)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23315994)

If Yahoo's stock price continues to decline, MS has intelligently kept their offer "on the table".

If stockholders come to MS for a bailout of their capital, they don't even need a hostile takeover -- it will be a willing one. And the profits Yahoo posts from Google won't reflect in their stock price for a while.

We'll see how long it takes Yahoo investors to either let the company rebound, or to bail themselves out. Yang is in an interesting position, that's all I can say.

Re:Time will tell... (5, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316098)

If stockholders come to MS for a bailout of their capital, they don't even need a hostile takeover -- it will be a willing one.

What about the MS Shareholders?

Buying a house that is a money hole at half off is still buying a money hole.

Strategically, MS buying Yahoo makes no sense at this point because they already have MSN and if they simply axed yahoo it will benefit Google more than MSN. If I owned MSFT at this point, I'd be breathing a sigh of relief.

Re:Time will tell... (5, Interesting)

lilfields (961485) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316346)

Why would Microsoft axe Yahoo? They would just put them on the same search index and advertising algorithm. Live actually has a good index...I think Microsoft could wait 2 years and they could get Yahoo at half the price, especially the way Jerry Yang is driving it into the ground. He makes Terry Semel look like a genius for crying outloud; Yang needs to let go, he's getting a steal. Microsoft, is good with money pits, they turned the Xbox franchise into a profitable entity and forced Sony to take massive losses in their PS3.

Re:Time will tell... (4, Informative)

tb3 (313150) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317028)

The XBox is not yet 'profitable'. They now have a positive cash flow, meaning they are taking in more money than they are spending, but they have a long way to go to pay back the initial $6 billion investment.

Re:Time will tell... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317946)

Also while MS and Sony focused so much on each other, Nintendo slipped in. The Wii already has more marketshare than the Xbox and is profitable.

The Wii's big - but stingy - audience (5, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318558)

Nintendo slipped in. The Wii already has more marketshare than the Xbox and is profitable.

It hasn't been all peaches and cream for the Wii.

Wii, though less technologically advanced than Microsoft's Xbox 360 or Sony's PlayStation 3, continues to outsell those machines and is now in more than 20 million homes.
So why are retailers having so much trouble selling Wii games?
Take Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It was one the most hotly anticipated video games of the year; it sold more than 1.4 million copies during the first week of its release.
But sales dropped more than 90 percent over the first four weeks.
A number of games that garnered critical acclaim in recent months, notably the cartoonish action-adventure game Zack & Wiki and the off-kilter action-adventure No More Heroes, have yielded disappointing sales.
Over the first three months of the year, only three other Wii titles broke the list of top 10 best-selling games.
Younger children, women and older consumers, who historically have not been sought by the video-game industry, have discovered video games through the Wii -- just not that many of them.
These new gamers are content with the games they have, often going no further than the Wii Sports game that comes with the machine. They don't buy new games with the fervor of a traditional gamer who is constantly seeking new stimulation.
The average Wii owner buys only 3.7 games a year, compared with 4.7 for Xbox 360 owners and 4.6 for PlayStation 3 owners.
"When you make a game like Zack & Wiki or Boogie, which turns the hard core off and doesn't reach the masses, then you're in trouble."
Wii Fit, an exercise game due next month, is expected to receive more marketing dollars than any game in Nintendo's history -- and the money will not be spent wooing young men. "Wii Fit is just not aimed at hard-core gamers. It's definitely aimed at the Oprah crowd. I bet they sell a million units a week for every pound that Oprah says she lost on it."

New Wii Games Find a Big (but Stingy) Audience [nytimes.com] [April 21, 2008]

Re:The Wii's big - but stingy - audience (4, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318766)

My point is that the Xbox360 had 1 year head start yet the Wii has overtaken them in sheer numbers. And Nintendo makes money on every Wii. MS is only now starting to make money on the Xbox 360 and has to recover several billion dollars.

Your article also only discusses why Wii games aren't selling well. There is no real doubt that the console is selling well. Is this a serious problem for the Wii? For the Xbox and the Playstation, they targeted hardcore gamers. This player wants a wide selection and will buy more titles a year. Well, the average Wii owner is not a hardcore gamer and not as likely to buy multiple games a year. They will buy a few titles that they enjoy playing over and over. Will fewer titles keep a hardcore gamer from buying a console? Yes, considering the higher price of the Xbox 360 and PS3. Will fewer titles keep a casual gamer from buying a Wii? Not if the Wii already has the few titles that they wanted especially since it is cheaper.

Re:The Wii's big - but stingy - audience (1)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318886)

I don't know. I have Call of Duty and Williams Pinball for the Wii. I am also eagerly waiting NHL 2008. My kids have about 10 games. Not bad for about 4 months with the system.

Re:The Wii's big - but stingy - audience (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318900)

Trouble selling Wii games? Please, look at the sales data for Wii.

When did people start referencing the new york times for tech news? Or any news?

The NYT might as well print a retraction now - it's only a matter of time before Yahoo comes crawling to MS. MS knows it, Ballmer knows, and sooner or later, the stockholders will realize it.

Re:Time will tell... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318994)

The Wii already has more marketshare than the Xbox and is profitable.
What's your point? Your statement would have been qually valid if you said "more wrist-watches were sold last year than 360's or PS/3's" (and since the computing power of a Wii is more-or-less the same as a wrist-watch's, that's an apropos comparison!).

Face it, the Wii is a super glorified SNES and calling it a "7th Generation" console is true in almost exactly the same sense that someone born in 1946 and someone born in 1964 are both considerd "baby boomers". The Wii has about about as much in common with REAL 7th gen technology as a 1yr old child did in 1965 beside his/her 19 yr old predecessor. Which is to say, not very much at all. It's not a surprise that 10-year-old technology that marginally supports games aimed at someone who's IQ need only approach 100, sold at a price that equates to about 30-cents-on-the-dollar might sell more units than consoles built on modern (c.a. 2004) technology to run complex software at market-prices might... Especially given the con-job Nintendo (and the gaming community in general) is running by having the audacity to compare them in one way (i.e. # of units sold) while ignoring the only comaprison that matters (i.e. performance). The simple fact is that the unit count disparity between the Wii and TRUE 7th gen consoles is essentially represented by a single demographic: legions of techno-tards who, when standing before a wall of boxes at [insert name of retail chain of choice here] saw the 360 and PS/3 at between $400 and $700 sitting beside the $1.69 Wii and thought "well, since these're all the same thing, I might as well get the $2 one!"

-AC

Re:Time will tell... (1)

labalicious (844887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318246)

[Citation Needed]

Re:Time will tell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318528)

Xbox group is profitable because 'money coming in' a.k.a revenues is greater than fisical total cost. Initial $6 billion investment is counted as sunk cost and should not be counted against total cost for the fical year.

Re:Time will tell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23319294)

The XBox is not yet 'profitable'. They now have a positive cash flow, meaning they are taking in more money than they are spending, but they have a long way to go to pay back the initial $6 billion investment.
Actually...

Profit = Revenue - Expenses

Just because Microsoft spent $6 billion to launch the brand doesn't mean that Xbox has to pay that back to be profitable.

Re:Time will tell... (3, Interesting)

icknay (96963) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318216)

Microsoft wanted Yahoo in order to force-push Silverlight in front of all those email users. HTML and javascript are terrible for Microsoft, since they were cross platform (witness Microsoft ignoring IE with its terrible implementation all those years, hoping HTML would just die off).

Microsoft wants to push their proprietary Silverlight "web" to retake the glorious control they had pre-internet vs. today's picture with some degree of cross platform support and EEK competition!

Flash has quite a lead, but Microsoft's control of 90% of the world's machines with push-force-update software is pretty darn handy.

Re:Time will tell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23318870)

No, they have a pretty terrible index actually. That's the reason people keep switching their defaults over to Google even after they have the opportunity to just make do with MSN/Live. Do you even have a reason to say what you did?

Re:Time will tell... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316482)

They can buy a money hole and make it profitable.

They aren't digging into their capital, they are digging into their savings to get this deal made. And as I checked, Microsoft increased their profitability over the last year where Yahoo took a negative turn.

So yea, I wouldn't worry terribly if I were an MS Shareholder (I'm not -- work for a financial institution so I can't trade easily so I just don't bother).

Re:Time will tell... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317444)

They aren't digging into their capital, they are digging into their savings
I fail to see the distinction, but then I don't have an MBA from Mbogu College (est 1997) [catb.org]

Re:Time will tell... (4, Interesting)

tknd (979052) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316930)

Strategically, MS buying Yahoo makes no sense at this point because they already have MSN and if they simply axed yahoo it will benefit Google more than MSN.

They aren't buying Yahoo to take them out of the picture. They're buying Yahoo to combine market share, technology, and resources so that they can compete with Google as one team. Right now Google is eating up market share from everyone else and both Microsoft and Yahoo are losing market share. It helps neither of them to compete with each other when the big kid in the room (Google) is causing all of the problems.

This is why Yahoo share prices are declining: the market expects that the trend will continue (Yahoo losing market share to Google) therefore profitability will decrease.

Now the actions through which Microsoft utilized (buying Yahoo) may have not been the right way to go about things. It may have been a better idea for Microsoft and Yahoo to enter a strategic alliance in the short term and assess the success or lack of it later.

In the mean time, Google is perfectly happy with throwing a bone to Yahoo to keep the merger from going through. This makes their lives easier because it prevents the two from sharing technology and helps to maintain Google's lead in market share and tech.

And if I was Microsoft and the merger went through, I would axe MSN, not Yahoo. Yahoo has too much branding behind it (especially internationally) that it would be a good facade to maintain.

Now the funny thing is that I own a share of Google, so the news of the Yahoo-MS merger not going through actually helps me :).

Re:Time will tell... (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317714)

Or, to put it concisely:

Yahoo: Established and large customer base.
MSN: nth incarnation and still nobody gives a shit.

It's pretty clear here. Microsoft needs a web portal presence that someone is actually going to lose. MSN has been around since what, 1995, and has never really gained any traction. Yahoo was the early king, and Google became Supreme Search Overlord a little later in the game, but the key point here is that at no point in Microsoft's history on the Internet has it ever been in any meaningful way associated with web searching and web portals. It's pretty obvious to anyone (and that includes Ballmer) that no matter how hard Microsoft tries it will never achieve any kind of meaningful market share, meaning there's at least one major (and arguably becoming THE major) platform on which Microsoft has been utterly scooped and apparently cut out of.

Microsoft would very likely dump MSN if it could get its hands on Yahoo (not the other away around). MSN has little brand power, whereas Yahoo, while hardly the big guy, is at least a distant second, and thus still has something left to its name.

Of course Google is going to keep Yahoo alive, for the same reason that Microsoft through a lifeline to Apple in the 1990s. Sure they're competitors, but if you keep them alive, to some extent you can control them. Google sees little threat from Yahoo. It's likely to stay at its market share for the forseeable future. Yahoo backed by Microsoft $$$ is more of a threat (though not nearly the one that Microsoft envisions). Keep the company going, and at least you're dealing with the devil you know.

Of course, if the stock keeps heading south, at some point Yahoo's shareholders will probably give a hearty "fuck you" to Yang and deliver Yahoo into Microsoft's hands. But if they don't, I'd say the most obvious casualty isn't going to be Yang, but Ballmer. He's damned close to having a Eisner moment here.

Re:Time will tell... (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318166)

>>They aren't buying Yahoo to take them out of the picture. They're buying Yahoo to combine market share, technology, and resources so that they can compete with Google as one team.

I strongly doubt the whole team thing. Yahoo is the one who would loose the most out of this deal because they would just be cannonfodder to Microsoft. Im pretty sure Microsoft would not fail to screw Yahoo up by dotnetifying it and trying to take its users over to MSN. Microsoft axing MSN and replacing it with something built on open source and not their superior stuff?

My fealing is that Google helps Yahoo out to be nice, not just to keep Microsoft down. If i was an evil google id let Microsoft ruin Yahoo and then feast on the remains, getting plenty of good developers wanting a more sane working enviroment for cheap and a big stream of pissed of users.

Re:Time will tell... (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317298)

MS buying Yahoo makes no sense at this point because they already have MSN
You're right, in that they do indubitably have MSN.

You're wrong, because MSN is an absolute pile of leprotic poo.

Re:Time will tell... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316102)

With the day almost over Yahoo is up for the day, after a drop yesterday.

Personally MSFT would have been hard pressed to do anything with yahoo. they couldn't improve it with ruining what's left of yahoo, and yahoo had no real alue for MSFT except customers.

Then again MSFT isn't above buying customers instead of developing compelling products.

Re:Time will tell... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23316180)

You're completely missing the point. Yahoo is still way up since the announcement of the offer months ago and has essentially done as well as any other tech company since it's inception.

http://chart.finance.yahoo.com/c/6m/y/yhoo

http://chart.finance.yahoo.com/c/my/y/yhoo

Re:Time will tell... (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316446)

Really? Look at the 1y or 2y graphs and let me know that isn't a "decline".

I say "continue to decline" because they are almost $10 off their share price from only a year ago. That's a decline, last I checked.

Re:Yahoo vs msft in mis-management (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317098)

I would have posted:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=YHOO&t=my&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=msft [yahoo.com]
to make his point (a point I disagree with.) Stock price (at least in this case) in no way shows "profit" then again I don't know how to get that graph in 5 minutes or less.

Re:Time will tell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317256)

Yes, really. Do you even know what kind of selective time frame you're crying about and what it means?

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=YHOO&t=my&l=on&z=m&q=l&c=MSFT,^IXIC

Bull of 1996-2000: YHOO outperforms MSFT and NASDAQ.

Bear of 2000-2003: YHOO matches MSFT and outperforms the NASDAQ.

Bull of 2003-2007: YHOO outperforms MSFT and NASDAQ.

Bear of 2007-????: YHOO performs slightly worse than MSFT and NASDAQ.

We're in a bear market, and you think it's significant that YHOO's price is down some 15% from it's past Bull peak and that it actually matched the previous peak RIGHT BEFORE THE CREDIT CRISIS HIT?!?!

Re:Time will tell... (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#23319206)

Really? Look at the 1y or 2y graphs and let me know that isn't a "decline".

Google [google.com] shows Yahoo!'s lowest price in 2007 was $22.73 and in 2006 was $23.21. That's a $1.48 decline, which isn't much of a decline especially when you look economic cycles. Unless you look at Google's rise.

I say "continue to decline" because they are almost $10 off their share price from only a year ago. That's a decline, last I checked.

On 4 May 2007 Yahoo closed at $30.98, Yahoo!'s 4th highest close in 2007. Today it closed at $25.72. The difference between them isn't $10, it's only half that.

Falcon

Bah - you link to yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317390)

So you're gonna trust yahoo to report it's own financial health? :)

Possibly you should check prices before you post (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317132)

If Yahoo's stock price continues to decline, MS has intelligently kept their offer "on the table".

When you posted, and currently, YHOO is up $1.35 for the day to $25.70 or so.

As another poster noted, that is well above the $18 or so YHOO started at before the Microsoft offer.

YHOO is doing just fine...

Re:Time will tell... (2, Insightful)

Aram Fingal (576822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317162)

If stockholders come to MS for a bailout of their capital, they don't even need a hostile takeover -- it will be a willing one. And the profits Yahoo posts from Google won't reflect in their stock price for a while.

I don't think that's true. Stock prices usually respond in anticipation of an event. Investors know that this is going to happen so they have already factored it into their willingness to buy or sell. Later, when the event actually happens, the response in share price will be a correction to do with how well expectations were met.

good luck yang (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316014)

your shareholders are gonna grill ya like a barbecue

Re:good luck yang (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316074)

The opening of his speech will be "Okay, so I lost you all of a shitload of money. But the important thing is, we stuck it to the big, bad Microsoft! WHO'S WITH ME?" There is more to the speech, but it's unlikely he'll be able to speak coherently after that, what with his lungs filling with blood.

Re:good luck yang (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316298)

Et tu, Jerry?

Re:good luck yang (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316986)

kai su, Kingrames?

Re:good luck yang (2)

JWW (79176) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316330)

He only lost them money because the market is so unbelievably stupid that they actually thought a Microsoft Yahoo merger would work. Which anyone who knows anything about tech mergers knows is not true.

See the HP Compaq merger for a prime example, or AOL Time Warner, or .....

Re:good luck yang (3, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316692)

I don't think it really has anything to do with that at all.

When companies merge (or are acquired) their stock prices tend to go up in the short term. So it makes a lot of sense for buyers to buy Yahoo stock right before the merger (and sell shortly after) and for the current shareholders to sell.

In other words, with Yahoo refusing to sell, the shareholders can not cash in and make a shit load of money.

Yes the stock is down right now, but by "loose money" I interpret that as "now you can't sell when the stock price immediately jumps up due to the acquisition and get filthy stinkin' richer than you already are".

The only people who would care in the slightest what happens to MS or Yahoo in the long term are people looking at long term investments. I think the only people in that camp are the top Microsoft shareholders (obviously or they wouldn't be looking to acquire them). The rest of the Yahoo shareholders just wanted to cash in and go retire on their yachts.

Re:good luck yang (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317518)

the market is so unbelievably stupid that they actually thought a Microsoft Yahoo merger would work.
The market only cares about whether it will happen. By the time it's clear whether it worked or not, everybody's cashed in, sold out and moved onto the next thing. Including of course the execs with their stock options.

Google and Yahoo should team up (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316026)

Only together can they defeat Microsoft, and rule the world as a monopoly so strong that even God will fall to his knees before them!

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (5, Insightful)

cwgmpls (853876) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316078)

The merger of the company with the vast majority of web searches with its next-closest rival would never win the approval of the Federal Trade Commission.

Google needs Yahoo! to stick around just like Microsoft needs Apple. Each company would have an effective monopoly of their respective markets if it weren't for their smaller rival, and would risk being broken up by the FTC.

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (2, Interesting)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316152)

And at least now you can always choose search engine #2 to avoid most of the spam search responses, which usually target search engine #1, but only as long as #2 is itself a good search engine.

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (4, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316372)

With the current administration, they might not bat an eyelash at a Google-Yahoo merger, but the FTC doesn't break up monopolies just because they're monopolies. That's perfectly legal--the rules are in place to prevent companies from "cheating" to maintain their monopoly or leverage a monopoly to create new ones . . . like using an OS monopoly to establish an office suite monopoly, corporate e-mail monopoly, web browser monopoly and/or media player monopoly.

(as you can see, these rules have been working quite well in recent years. *rolls eyes*)

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (-1, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316624)

It's funny how MS-bashers have created such a finely-honed and specific definition of "monopoly" that it only applies to Microsoft, as if no other company can be evil but them.

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (3, Informative)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317694)

That's an interesting conclusion there. Nowhere in the GP's post does he define "monopoly", nowhere does the GP mention "evil", and nowhere did the GP suggest that companies other than Microsoft are immune from being evil.

He was explaining merely *having* a monopoly is legal, the illegality comes from utilizing your monopoly power anti-competitively, for which Microsoft, being the most prominent modern example of a convicted anti-competitive monopolist, is a rich mine of examples.

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (3, Informative)

pressman (182919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317696)

Actually, the /. crowd is pretty good at using the term monopoly properly. Monopolies are not illegal. MS having a monopoly on desktop computer operating systems was never illegal. It was the result of aggressive business practices.

It was when they leveraged their OS monopoly to push Netscape out of the browser market that they got themselves into a legal bind. They used their market dominating power in the field of desktop operating systems to crush competition in the burgeoning market for web browsers. They didn't have a product that held a candle to a much smaller and less cash flush competitor, so rather than create a competitive product, they bolted IE into the operating system and gave it away for free thus hamstringing Netscape's ability to compete and essentially cut off any revenue stream they had to keep them afloat.

This was a flagrant violation of antitrust law. They used the power of their legal monopoly in one market to very aggressively crush competition in a market in which they were unable to compete fairly.

There is nothing finely honed about this definition of a monopoly. Microsoft was accused, tried and convicted of antitrust violations and were basically let off the hook by the Bush Administration's DoJ.

If Google tried to acquire Yahoo! or Apple tried to acquire Adobe, trust me, you'd see Microsoft screaming ANTITRUST VIOLATION so loud, we'd all go deaf. And they'd probably be justified in those claims as either of those acquisitions would really radically change the face of the software world.

There are very few companies in the world that wield a level of monopoly power even close to what Microsoft has. I can't think of a single software company that even comes close.

For all intents and purposes, Windows runs the world's computers. Like it or not. Entire industries... not just individual companies... but entire industries are tied into MS wholesale and if MS wants to change the game on these people, they either have to take it, or suffer some very serious growing pains switching to OSS alternatives or Apple alternatives. Transitions which can devastate a company. The companies that are voluntarily doing this... bravo. Smart bunch!

That is A LOT of power and the potential for abuse is huge and MS has proven they are not above abusing that power. They have been tried and convicted for it already. There is precedent, but a lack of enforcement.

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318548)

It was when they leveraged their OS monopoly to push Netscape out of the browser market that they got themselves into a legal bind.


Well, actually, they first got into trouble when the DoJ began investigating their OEM agreements in the early 1990s, and it was discovered that Microsoft was in fact penalizing, or at least threatening to penalize PC manufacturers who wanted to ship alternative operating systems by charging them much more for DOS and Windows licenses than those manufacturers who basically guaranteed the only operating system that would be shipped out on their PCs would be from Microsoft. That's the origin of the Microsoft "tax", which so far as I can tell, the DoJ never managed to get rid of.

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (1)

pressman (182919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318702)

Good point. I forgot about the OEM dealings. Thanks for bringing that up.

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317894)

Its also funny that Microsoft has been convicted in multiple courts for abusing their monopoly while many other companies that holds monopoly in their markets has not. The key here is abuse of a monopoly, not just that you have a monopoly. Add to that all their other shoddy activities like funding the whole SCO-idiocy, bribing their way into ISO, stacking panels, astroturfing and any borderline activity you can think of and yes, they are more evil than any other company in the tech sector i can think of. In my personal view Microsoft arent really evil but rather psychopatic. They have no moral, feelings, compassion or pride. Money is all that rules and how you get them is irrelevant, could just as well be drugs.

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317998)

Nonesense. There are lots of other theoretical situations where it could occur.

The simple fact is that the nature of software makes it more practical to effect than, say, a car company using its large market share to stifle competition in fuels or a bread manufacturer trying to lock out alternative toasters.

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (1)

icknay (96963) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318278)

Microsoft controls about 90% of the desktop/laptop operating system space. Just by common sense, that's a monopoly. It's been found to be a monopoly legally as well.

Having a monopoly (in the US) is legal, you just can't leverage it to gain advantage in some other domain, like say, Flash technology.

For example, Microsoft creating a Photoshop killer and marketing it normally is fine. Bundling it with every OS install is not ok.

MS bashers (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 6 years ago | (#23319278)

It's funny how MS-bashers have created such a finely-honed and specific definition of "monopoly" that it only applies to Microsoft, as if no other company can be evil but them.

Speaking of MS bashers, I think it's funny the first post ranting about Microsoft and monopolies is yours.

Falcon

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (4, Funny)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316104)

Were you thinking of:

You can destroy the Emperor. He has foreseen this. It is your destiny. Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son. Come with me. It is the only way.

-l

Re:Google and Yahoo should team up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23316366)

I'll never join you! You KILLED my father!

Google helped yahoo. (1, Interesting)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316044)

Why google helped yahoo? Because it tries to "do no evil". And microsoft is bigger competitor than yahoo (would be even bigger WITH yahoo).

Re:Google helped yahoo. (2, Informative)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316236)

i dont think so

GOOG @77% > (YHOO @ 12% + MSFT @ 5%)

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=4 [hitslink.com]

Google - Global 77.23%
Yahoo - Global 12.21%
MSN - Global 3.27%
Microsoft Live Search 2.50%
AOL - Global 2.41%
Ask - Global 1.37%
AltaVista - Global 0.11%
Excite - Global 0.07%
Lycos - Global 0.01%
All the Web - Global 0.01%

Re:Google helped yahoo. (1)

BootNinja (743040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23319122)

Lycos and Excite are still around? wow.

Re:Google helped yahoo. (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316424)

Why google helped yahoo? Because it tries to "do no evil".
Bullshit. There are several reasons...
  • They don't want to become a monopoly, as that would surely invite regulatory pressure.
  • One of the Triumvirate (Schmidt, Page, Brin) has said before that Google prefers competitors because otherwise they become a much larger (and surer) target for SEO/SEM and click-fraud. If there are several engines with different algorithms/tweaks, there's no one way to game the entire search system.
  • Once it becomes a 2-entity market/race (effectively), negative advertising and operations become very valuable for the 2nd place entity... analogy being the 08 Democratic Primary... once Edwards dropped out, and Clinton was clearly behind, she went negative, and it worked.

Ballmer (1)

killeena (794394) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316088)

I wonder if Ballmer is going to "Fucking Kill" Yahoo now?

altruism or (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316124)

Giving a direct competitor a life line as to avoid the Goliath the merger would become while meanwhile stagnating the competitor.
Wow, I don't think I'd want to be in THAT risk assessment meeting. Then again, they did it for ASK.com and apparently it's working there too.

Competition leads to innovation

Re:altruism or (1)

aim2future (773846) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316834)

Competition leads to innovation

Exactly! Google understand this. Innovation is the future, buying old already established businesses is not

Re:altruism or (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317642)

Exactly! Google understand this. Innovation is the future, buying old already established businesses is not

Well, no. Basically everyone big in the industry, including both Google and Yahoo!, also buys successful companies to replace their homegrown failing offerings in the same space. Without even leaving the fairly narrow field of online video offerings, I give you Exhibit A: YouTube. Exhibit B: JumpCut.

Google == White Knight (4, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316126)

1. Microsoft probably can and will figure out a way to eventually stack the board of in directors in their favor at Yahoo. Microsoft has time, Yahoo doesn't.

2. Google is keeping their enemies closer at this point. This is basically a white-knight move on Google's part to keep Microsoft out of their space at all costs. The question to Google is how long will it be until this kind of action starts affecting their bottom line numbers.

In a very heartless way, I'm all for the Microsoft->Yahoo acquisition. Most acquisitions fail to generate anything near the claims management makes. Microsoft would simply leave the door open for ex-Yahoo employees to startup things that would be a bigger thorn in Microsoft's side.

Death by thousands of thorns if you will pardon the pun.

It's a Stanford conspiracy! (3, Funny)

engineerErrant (759650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316222)

That's really the crux of all of this. The fact that the founders of both went to Stanford is hard proof of what I've always said: they are all part of a secret railroad monopoly plan hatched by Leland Stanford in the 1800s.

That's why he orchestrated the Hoover presidency and built the linear accelerator facility, which looks like the all-seeing eye when seen from the air. Google is really just a corporate front for the Stanford band, whose shadowy aim is to take over the world from their trailer, where Leland Stanford is kept cryogenically frozen!

The world, I say!

Re:It's a Stanford conspiracy! (1)

Osurak (1013927) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316368)

I think you may have tried too hard.

Re:It's a Stanford conspiracy! (2, Funny)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317102)

Google is really just a corporate front for the Stanford band, whose shadowy aim is to take over the world from their trailer, where Leland Stanford is kept cryogenically frozen!
frozen inside the emptied rack of a sun E10k, right ???

* for those who didn't get the joke, sun microsystems took it's name from the acronym Stanford University Network.

Re:It's a Stanford conspiracy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23317832)

frozen inside the emptied rack of a sun E10k, right ???

* for those who didn't get the joke, sun microsystems took it's name from the acronym Stanford University Network.
It's not as funny when you realize that the E10K was a Cray cast-off from the SGI buyout and really only sun in brand-name alone.

I know why... (1)

Apoorv Khatreja (1263418) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316262)

Yang didn't want to have to shake hands with Ballmer.

Yahoo worth more without MS (1)

nategoose (1004564) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316284)

MS's stock has been headed down, and will continue to do so. Selling Yahoo stock for MS stock would be like abandoning a seemingly good row boat for a sinking yacht, and leaving the row boat in the path of the yacht to get smashed. MS doesn't know what to do with Yahoo. If they did they could and would have done it without Yahoo a long time ago. If they do acquire them at some point it's going to become more of a mess than it already is and all of the value that it does have will be squandered.

Re:Yahoo worth more without MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23316448)

Gee, thanks for the hard-hitting analysis there, Mr. Nasdaq.

Re:Yahoo worth more without MS (1)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317940)

Gee, thanks for the hard-hitting analysis there, Mr. Nasdaq.

Agreed.

Microsoft : gets a nice $150 check for almost every computer made on earth.

Yahoo : runs a search engine that everyone except the biggest internet fossils stopped using about 5 years ago.

Re:Yahoo worth more without MS (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318090)

You misspelled 'nadsack'.

Re:Yahoo worth more without MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23316560)

Unfortunately his/her's analysis is wrong just look at the numbers over a longer period instead of the 52 week high you will then see it is yahoo which is more like the sinking yacht. if you must just look at the 52 week high yahoo is still down a greater percentage that ms.

No, Yahoo's Board Negotiated in Bad Faith (0)

OakLEE (91103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316348)

I do not (and never have believed) that Jerry Yang and the rest of the Yahoo board was ever were serious about selling the company. Any negotiations that Yahoo's board entered into were done in bad faith and in violation of the board's obligations to the shareholders that elected it.

For example, look at the actions the board and management took right after the offer was announced. They enacted huge employee termination compensation plans, including golden parachutes for management. They entered into contractual arrangements with Google that would diminish their acquisition value to anybody but Google (which the DOJ would never approve). They tried to make a deal to acquire a portion of AOL It's clear that these actions were designed more dissuade Microsoft more than they were designed to deliver any shareholder value, which is the primary responsibility of any publicly held company.

Yahoo's board was acting in its own self-interest. I expect plenty of shareholder lawsuits, and given the fact that the stock has traded almost 30% of its shares outstanding in the last two days, I expect a proxy battle to oust the board as well. Yahoo's board has violated its fiduciary obligations to its shareholders and will likely pay the price for this.

Re:No, Yahoo's Board Negotiated in Bad Faith (3, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316550)

Managing a company is also supposed to take care of it in the long run. Making one small onetime financial income at the expense of the company isnt god for the shareholders that are in it for the longer run. You are talking about day-traders and not real investors. A marriage with Microsoft would most surely spell certain doom for Yahoo as a company.

Its also not sure a Microsoft would be allowed to use its monopoly money from the Windows division to create another monopoly in search further on. Google buying Yahoo on the other hand shouldnt be a problem since its only when you use your monopoly in a bad way that US laws come into action or if you use one monopoly to subside taking over an adjecent market.

Shareholder value is not equal to stock value, its about what the company does in the longer run. Stock value is often completely useless as a measurement for how well a company is doing. Look at how long SCO had roaring high stock value? Was their moves good for their shareholders, except for hedgefunds and daytraders and other scum?

Yahoo has acted to continue living and not being bought up and then dismantled quickly after being gutted of its users. A shareholder cant just sue because its board do not favour short onetime gains at the expence of the companys future. If that was the case we would see companys gutting themselves and selling the pieces and totally disregard any possible future incomes down the line from products not yet released to the market.

Re:No, Yahoo's Board Negotiated in Bad Faith (1)

clampolo (1159617) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318056)

Shareholder value is not equal to stock value, its about what the company does in the longer run.

NO! Who the hell invests their money for anything other than a nice stock price and/or dividend? If I am a Yahoo investor, and Microsoft offers to buy my shares at a nice premium over the market price, then yes I would like to sell them the shares.

Do you honestly expect Yahoo stock to hit the price MS was offering in a reasonable amount of time? I doubt it, the way that Google is dancing rings around them.

If you are a Yahoo investor.... (1)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318484)

... you don't care about the share price.

If you do care so much about the share price, you are an speculator.

Re:No, Yahoo's Board Negotiated in Bad Faith (1)

OakLEE (91103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23319182)

Managing a company is also supposed to take care of it in the long run.

Yes, that is true, but as a public company the company's board of directors also has an obligation to maximize shareholder value and look out for their bests interest. To justify a $37 share price (102% higher than the 18.50 it was trading at before the offer), Yahoo would basically have had to double its net income (i.e., profits).

The company's management has a good case for turning down the offer if they can give a plan on how to do this. They haven't offered one up, and instead have entered into arrangements that that might harm the company's earnings potential long term. How are the company's shareholder's going to benefit by the board's actions?

Google buying Yahoo on the other hand shouldnt be a problem since its only when you use your monopoly in a bad way that US laws come into action or if you use one monopoly to subside taking over an adjecent market.

Justice would never approve the deal. Anti-trust law is just as much preventative as it is punitive, thus the government has an obligation to look out for potentially harmful monopolies under current anti-trust law as it has an obligation to prosecute and regulator already harmful monopolies. It took the DOJ almost a year to approve the XM-Sirius merger, and just about the same time to approve Doubleclick and Google. Those transactions aren't nearly as anti-competitive as a Google-Yahoo one, which would give the combined company over 90% of all search traffic (and resulting revenue) on the internet.

Yahoo has acted to continue living and not being bought up and then dismantled quickly after being gutted of its users. A shareholder cant just sue because its board do not favour short onetime gains at the expence of the companys future.

If the board acts in a way that breaches the shareholders' fiduciary duty they can indeed sue the board for damages, and there are plenty of instances of conduct here that are at least borderline, if not actual breaches of duty. Even with that, the shareholders can always vote the board out, and I wouldn't be surprised if this is what happens at the July shareholder's meeting.

Re:No, Yahoo's Board Negotiated in Bad Faith (2, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316580)

Any negotiations that Yahoo's board entered into were done in bad faith and in violation of the board's obligations to the shareholders that elected it.

What obligation is that? Is the board obligated to make a deal with Microsoft? Are they obligated to engage in a good faith negotiation with them?

You'd have to show that rejecting Microsoft's unsolicited bid was not in the best interests of Yahoo's shareholders. That may seem obvious to you now, but only time will tell. If they did negotiate in bad-faith, that is an affront to Microsoft, sure... but not grounds for a shareholder action per se. Keep in mind that they were responding to an unsolicited and unwelcome bid.

Re:No, Yahoo's Board Negotiated in Bad Faith (1)

OakLEE (91103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23319084)

What obligation is that? Is the board obligated to make a deal with Microsoft? Are they obligated to engage in a good faith negotiation with them?


Yes, actually they are obligated to do so under Delaware law, the state in which Yahoo is incorporated. Here's a post I did earlier explaining a board's duty to shareholders during takeovers. Link. [slashdot.org]

Re:No, Yahoo's Board Negotiated in Bad Faith (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317292)

OTOH, I never felt that Microsoft was acting in good faith in making the offer.

The FUD and distraction that this offer has caused Yahoo has been all to Microsoft's benefit, but completing a deal with Yahoo would mean merging two very different corporate cultures at a time when neither company is robust. Not good. A sure recipe for loss of market cap, and usually results in ousting the CEO. Ballmer isn't that stupid.

If Yahoo who had said yes to the deal, Microsoft would have found some reason for withdrawing the offer. Preferably after they had gotten a peek at Yahoo's books.

Horaaah (1)

fluxburn (1278932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23316432)

Everyone, truly deep down inside loves Microsoft. They are the best software company in the World, after all. I want a "I Love Microsoft" T-Shirt to wear to the SQL and Defcon Conferences so I can get flogged!

Stock Market says no, (3, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317054)

If we believe the stock market, and assumes that, at least in the mid term, reflects the prospect of future profit, then the reason Yahoo turned down the offer was because it was a dumb thing to do. Though it would have meant short term gains for Yahoo investors, the MSFT stock price indicates that it would have a dumb thing to do, at least in the mid term. Though a executive might have the requirement to maximize profits for investors, one can hardly argue that an executive should sell simply to maximize short term gains when a company still has long term profits. At the very least one can argue that a firm has a duty to the employees that generate a long term profit and not discard these employees simply to gain an immediate pay day for a few greedy investors.

IMHO, The interesting thing is that this was such a dumb idea that even greedy investors did not seem to want it. As soon as the buyout was proposed, MSFT stock tanked well over 10%. It regained some in the weeks after, but the biggest gain occurred when it looked like the deal would go bad, and when it became clear that Balmer was going to do the damn fool thing, the stock tanked again. Not a rousing endorsement that this deal would do anything positive. On the Yahoo side, the stock briefly spiked as some investors were looking for a quick payday, and others were looking to get rid of an investment they perhaps paid too much for, but no on really seemed to think it was a good deal as even when it seemed like MSFT might raise the bid to $37, the stock never went above $29, which seemed to indicate that investors seemed to think of this as a windfall and not a long term thing. Of course, the most interesting thing, is that while MSFT stock has not recovered, yahoo has not fallen back anywhere near the january lows.

As I see it, Microsoft was simply willing to burn some money to get some experience in a field that they are flailing in, and to knock out the competition. It was not a growth strategy, simply a way to tread water. Given that MSFT is still perhpas 20% down on the year, while yahoo is somewhat in positive territory, i imagine that this act of desperation has done more harm than good.

Re:Stock Market says no, (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23319092)

Your belief in stock market valuations meaning something at all in the real world is quite interesting.

I would have given anything... (3, Insightful)

kylben (1008989) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317552)

...to be in the (hopefully chairless) room when Ballmer heard this news. The look on his face must have been priceless. Google is playing Chess, while Ballmer can barely handle checkers.

Google Competition != Destruction (2, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23317622)

All the analysis I've read is just nonsense. Google knows something that Microsoft and business analysts don't have a clue about.

A thriving market place makes a lot of money for everyone, yourself included. You have a vested interest in maintaining the market place.

The loss of a major fair playing competitor and the introduction of a stronger destruction driven monopolist makes it harder for everyone, including Google, to make money.

Google wants yahoo in place. They make money from Yahoo. Yahoo wants google in place, they make money with google. Where their businesses do not conflict, they work together. Both Yahoo and Google aren't fighting to destroy one another, they are in business to make money. It is friendly and profitable competition. They way it should be. The that capitalism works best.

Microsoft on the other hand can not compete on a fair market. They never have and never will be able. They must capitalize on their illegally maintained windows and office monopoly to destroy competition and destroy the marketplace leaving only enough business for themselves.

Google is a strong competitor, I don't "trust" them per se'. for The time being, however, they've shown that they understand ethics and the phrase "a rising tide lifts all boats."

Re:Google Competition != Destruction (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318198)

I think that both Yahoo and Google view each other as competitors, but they want to succeed by being better. MS, as far as I can remember, has never wanted to succeed but just wanted to win against any competition. To win, their modus operandi has been to undermine the competition. The problem with that philosophy is that once the competition disappeared, MS stopped trying. For example, IE. After it won the Browser Wars I, it stopped all development. It wasn't until Firefox started taking marketshare, and Apple making inroads with Safari that MS got back into developing browsers again.

The old saying... (1)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318190)

The enemy of my enemy is my friend

Stanford 2, Harvard 0. (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318356)

No wonder Ballmer hates Google. Stanford 2, Harvard 0. Wonder how far the chair flew this time. Maybe Ballmer should talk to the X Prize peole.

Yahoo executives fled... (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318392)

...when it was revealed Ballmer would chair the meeting

How I lost $10 Billion Overnight (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318796)

After fending off months of threats by Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc.'s directors still will have to fight for their jobs as the company's own irate shareholders plot a mutiny.

Eric Jackson, president of Ironfire Capital, is trying to recruit an alternate slate of directors to present at Yahoo's annual meeting on July 3."We are hoping to turn that (meeting) into 'Independence Day' for Yahoo's shareholders."

Yahoo's board wanted $37 per share -- a price that the company's stock hasn't reached in more than two years.

"It's hard to believe the board could let this happen," Jackson said. "I think they completely misconstrued the situation and thought, 'Microsoft is rich, so let's soak them.' They were bluffing all the way and got caught."

The possibility of revived talks helped lift Yahoo shares by $1.35, or 5.5 percent, to finish Tuesday at $25.72. That left Yahoo's market value more than $10 billion below Ballmer's last offer.

Although he only owns 96 Yahoo shares, a sliver of the roughly 1.4 billion outstanding, Jackson has experience rallying stockholders around a common cause.

Jackson spent several months leading up to last year's annual meeting organizing an online protest against Yahoo's Terry Semel, the CEO at the time. The crusade culminated at the annual meeting, where Jackson confronted Semel and asked the CEO if he still had enough "fire in his belly" to do his job. Semel resigned six days later and was replaced by Yang. Jackson's latest revolt may find two powerful allies in Yahoo's two largest shareholders, Capital Research Global Investors and Legg Mason, whose portfolio managers have both publicly expressed their disappointment with the Yahoo board's demand for $37 per share.

Already, Yahoo stockholders with about 3 million shares have pledged to support Jackson's attempt to replace the board. Yahoo board may face shareholder mutiny at annual meeting [google.com]

Coop-etition (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318866)

as in Coke and Pepsi dividing the market to prevent any real competition from ever emerging.

HURRAY !! thats the kind of sh@t i want to see (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23318958)

on the internet. big buck corporations with past century's mindset have been dominating everything for way too long. sorry ms fanboiz, but your ms is also one of the corporations that was founded and living on the late 19th and early 20th century big buck mindset. and these companies DO pull a lot of sh@tty stunt, regardless of anything, anyone, to increase their profits. they dont even care for their own customer base, as you can see from the games that are being played in u.s. senate in the recent years - all to the detriment of people, to benefit of them, including trying to abolish net neutrality to immunity for telcos.

it was about time the 'good guys', the companies that are founded on the new, up and coming understanding of the internet age and people had started acting up and standing up. this, was the kind of thing we needed to see all along - pulling a stunt against big buck. even though corporations they may be, in their own right, these two (google and yahoo) are much more the 'people's kind' of corporation than microsoft, at&t, comcast and whatever old big monolithic bastardly hunks of corporations can be.

now, if only those 'new guys' had today's understanding and preemptive mindset since 3-4 years ago, we wouldnt ever risk network neutrality going down the drain, or wouldnt have telco immunity sh@t at our door today.
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