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Microsoft Bids $44.6 Billion For Yahoo

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the big-deal dept.

Microsoft 784

The news is everywhere this morning about Microsoft's $44.6B offer to buy Yahoo. The offer represents $31 a share, a 62% premium over Thursday's closing price; and Yahoo's stock price has been rising in after-hours trading. Microsoft has been making overtures to Yahoo since 2006, according to the CNet article, including a buyout offer last February that was rebuffed. Mediapost.com has some perspective on the deal from the point of view of ads and eyeballs. Such an acquisition, which would be Microsoft's largest by far — it bought Aquantive last year for $6 billion — would need approval by US and EU authorities. A European Commission spokesman declined to comment.

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First post! (-1, Offtopic)

rJah (1216024) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260206)

Yeah!!! Sure hope somebody doesn't beat me to it as I type...

Old news... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260216)

Seriously, this was posted HOURS ago on other news sources... and just now on slashdot? Wow... someone is behind.

Re:Old news... (-1, Offtopic)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260252)

I know - there's tons of discussion thread in the pending area. Slashdot trounced by Digg. SAD!

Very odd (5, Insightful)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260218)

Seems so unlikely to ever be allowed by the regulators, yet they're willing to throw billions at it anyway. They must feel confident for some reason.

Re:Very odd (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260242)

It will be the Japanese buying Rockefellar center all over again. They'll lose and it will throw us into a worse economic state.

Re:Very odd (3, Informative)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260266)

This isn't like the previous anti-trust stuff either - either the US or EU can just block the deal outright. No piddling fines for them to ignore or stuff like that. A massive gamble, implying they really want this deal.

Re:Very odd (5, Insightful)

crispi (131688) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260254)

Well if you can't build a good search engine of your own, just buy one.

In fact just like about everything MS has ever done (eg SQL, IE, PowerPoint ...)

Re:Very odd (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260400)

And most of those products went down hill in various ways after being bought...

Re:Very odd (5, Insightful)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260480)

Well if you can't build a good search engine of your own, just buy one.

In fact just like about everything MS has ever done (eg SQL, IE, PowerPoint ...)
Yahoo's power and success comes from multi platform awareness, using right tools for job without caring about what OS it runs (mostly FreeBSD), giving the same service to everyone with a recent browser regardless of OS, being open to all developers even including competitors...

I checked Live.com the day it was announced. When it bitched about not using IE (when I tried to login my passport account) , I never visited it back. That is what makes every MS attempt unsuccessful. They can't live with the fact that there is a thing called HTML standard, TCPIP standard and Internet is platform neutral from beginning. They use every opportunity to alienate other OS/Browser users.

I could never see Yahoo as a great search engine although it seems spammers/blackhats/SEO junk targets them less. For the record, Google has always been a spammer heaven for me too.

Re: VO (disclaimer: I used to be a MS Live intern) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260552)

From what I can tell, Microsoft Live Search (newly revamped last fall) is actually a much better product than Yahoo! Search, at least in the en-us market. I can't speak for the Asian or EU markets. Both Yahoo and Live are still behind Google.

Part of the thinking of the acquisition has to be behind acquiring Yahoo's user base, which according to ComScore accounts for about 20% of internet searches compared to Microsoft's measly 10%. Sometimes, having a good product doesn't mean much if you can't get people to try it. (See Linux, Matroska, Next, Ogg Vorbis, etc)

Re:Very odd (5, Insightful)

jeroenb (125404) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260260)

Considering that internet search and online advertising are exactly the places they don't dominate, I don't see why regulators would object.

And then there were two (5, Insightful)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260344)

Considering that internet search and online advertising are exactly the places they don't dominate, I don't see why regulators would object.

Maybe, but the possibility of there only being two [hitwise.com] main search engines out there, with the next largest competitor Ask.com at a paltry 4.1%, is fairly scary.

Re:Very odd (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260468)

Considering that internet search and online advertising are exactly the places they don't dominate, I don't see why regulators would object.

Especially that Yahoo doesn't dominate that area either and with the addition of Microsoft it's only going sink further.

Re:Very odd (5, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260304)

Seems so unlikely to ever be allowed by the regulators, yet they're willing to throw billions at it anyway. They must feel confident for some reason.

If they allowed Google and Doubleclick, they'll probably allow this too. This doesn't give anyone a monopoly or anything close to it, since Google's still #1 in search.

The question is, how long until MS feels compelled to screw up Yahoo like Hotmail?

Thankyou Microsoft (2, Funny)

arcite (661011) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260314)

Now I'll be able to get my Britney Spears fix from one source instead of two.

Re:Very odd (4, Interesting)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260332)

Actually, I don't think regulators would have a huge problem with this... Clearly the big guy on the block is Google at this point... Microsoft and Yahoo joining forces makes sense from a competitive point of view... Let's face it, MSN sucks, it has always sucked, and so it is a good merger from a business perspective too. The only thing I worry about here is if Yahoo just sort of "melts" under Microsoft's ownership, the same way Excite did when it got bought.

Re:Very odd (5, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260426)

Well Yahoo, like hotmail, run all their stuff on FreeBSD...
You can bet yahoo would go the same way, migrating to windows, spending a ridiculous amount on new hardware and suffering significant problems in the process.

Re:Very odd (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260452)

The only thing I worry about here is if Yahoo just sort of "melts" under Microsoft's ownership, the same way Excite did when it got bought.
"melts"... or "is extinguished"?

Maybe I'm stuck in the past, but I can't shake the feeling that MS is more interested in narrowing the competitive field than in acquiring Yahoo properties -- though search is something they could use Yahoo's help with.

Re:Very odd (1, Flamebait)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260338)

I think they figure that at least in the US they have a better shot of doing this now than with a President Obama or Clinton in charge.

nice to see (1)

mgabrys_sf (951552) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260224)

Microsoft supporting Silicon Valley firms (yahoo/facebook) rather than trying to obliterate them outright (netscape). Of course you could argue that they want to demolish Google with all of the above grab-assing, but since Google is now a "VERB" - I'm skeptical at their chances.

Re:nice to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260284)

But that's just it. It doesn't really seem like Microsoft is supporting them; that puts a pretty naively positive spin on this. This sounds to me like assimilation. Like a previous poster said, since they're throwing billions at it, even though its so unlikely, they're definitely doing this for personal benefit.

Re:nice to see (4, Insightful)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260568)

Yahoo is generally quite a bit more prominent than Google in Asia, and there are quite a few people there. Microsoft has a lot of money to throw around, and if they can make Google insignificant over there, that limits the markets Google can grow in and may pose some serious problems. But it'll take some time before we see any significant marketshare changes I think, and anything can happen. Microsoft might have the big money, but you never want to underestimate Google.

Market Domination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260228)

"Today, the market is increasingly dominated by one player who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition." Is it AltaVista?

FreeBSD (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260240)

Is it dead now?

Implications for open source (5, Interesting)

1sockchuck (826398) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260244)

A consolidation of the Microsoft and Yahoo networks could shift a massive amount of infrastructure from open source technologies to Microsoft platforms.Microsoft said that "eliminating redundant infrastructure and duplicative operating costs will improve the financial performance of the combined entity." Yahoo has been a major player in several open soruce projects. Most of Yahoo's infrastructure runs on FreeBSD, and the lead developer of PHP, Rasmus Lerdorf, works as an engineer at Yahoo. Yahoo has also been a major contributor to Hadoop, an open source technology for distributed computing. Data Center Knowledge [datacenterknowledge.com] has more on the infrastructure implications.

Re:Implications for open source (1)

tclark (140640) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260340)

I wonder how that would shake out. A platform migration on that scale would be very expensive and time consuming, and I think it has taken MS years to manage similar, but much smaller transitions when they bought out other companies. Also, I expect that Yahoo has a lot more expertise at running large data centers than MS does.

Re:Implications for open source (3, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260432)

According to Alexa Yahoo runs the #1 and #17 websites, MS runs the #4, #5, and #18. I would say they both have plenty of experience running large data centers.

Re:Implications for open source (2, Insightful)

tclark (140640) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260502)

Fair enough - but my understanding, based on what I've heard from people who work for MSN, is that MS is not particularly good at running large data centers. It's not one of their strengths. And I'm speculating that Yahoo may be better at it because data center ops are more central to their business.

Re:Implications for open source (3, Insightful)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260554)

Fair enough - but my understanding, based on what I've heard from people who work for MSN, is that MS is not particularly good at running large data centers. It's not one of their strengths. And I'm speculating that Yahoo may be better at it because data center ops are more central to their business.
MS can't dare to say "FreeBSD looks like the right choice for this job" and use FreeBSD. They have also got locked to Windows in a different way.

They removed a perfectly running FreeBSD from Hotmail and installed (first fake than real) Windows instead. You have seen the results.

Re:Implications for open source (5, Informative)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260364)

Don't forget they also own Zimbra, an OSS Outlook/Exchange competitor

Re:Implications for open source (2, Insightful)

demopolis (872666) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260598)

This is precisely why I almost threw up a little. The greatest and in many ways, superior alternative to exchange, possibly handed over to the one who would love nothing more than to kill or pervert it into oblivion.

Re:Implications for open source (3, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260416)

Actually, I'd bet that the only reason that MS is buying Yahoo is to finally get Rasmus Lerdorf working for them. You know, since they can't exactly get Linus or RMS very easily.

Re:Implications for open source (4, Interesting)

BVis (267028) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260466)

Or, they're looking to tie him down and make him stop working on PHP... since as we all know ASP.NET is a far far superior technology... and a LOT of Yahoo! code is PHP.

Maybe, maybe not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260464)

"A consolidation of the Microsoft and Yahoo networks could shift a massive amount of infrastructure from open source technologies to Microsoft platforms."

Good luck to them with that. Can a web based business be run on Microsoft software? What about all the down-time?

microsoft to become the largest consumer of PHP? (1)

BrunoUsesBBEdit (636379) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260506)

Yahoo! is one of the largest consumers of PHP. They employ both Rasmus Lerdorf and Brian France. Will these Developers/Open Source advocates stick around? Will MS keep the existing PHP? Will MS continue to develop new apps in PHP?

If I hadn't left Yahoo! in Feb of 2007, I would leave Yahoo! on principle. But my stock option strike price was $32 and change, so I wouldn't have been sacrificing anything either.

Microsoft is "innovating" again... (4, Funny)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260256)

Yahoo confirmed that it has received an unsolicited offer and said that its board would evaluate the proposal, "carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo's strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders."

Judging by this blurb, I think the answer is going to be a big, fat yes.

Re:Microsoft is "innovating" again... (1)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260456)

Judging by that blur, the board is just doing what it is supposed to do, which is coincidentally to "maximize long-term value for shareholders".

Basically they're saying that they are doing what they are supposed to do, not sure where you see acceptance in that...

Re:Microsoft is "innovating" again... (1)

rinkjustice (24156) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260576)

It only makes sense that Yahoo would embrace the deal. They've been in a downward spiral for years, and taking the money would be maximizing value for shareholders both in the short and long term.

Pirate Bay (5, Funny)

rdradar (1110795) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260258)

Now MS should bid for Pirate Bay [torrentcentral.net] aswell!

Letter from Ballmer to Yahoo! Board (5, Informative)

C0deJunkie (309293) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260264)

With an astonishing 62% premium price of its current stock price, Microsoft sent this proposal to the Yahoo! Board of Directors. Here's the . Actually, part of the premium price is explainable by the [microsoft.com] recent sunk [techcrunch.com] of Yahoo! stock.

        January 31, 2008

        Board of Directors
        Yahoo! Inc.
        701 First Avenue
        Sunnyvale, CA 94089
        Attention: Roy Bostock, Chairman
        Attention: Jerry Yang, Chief Executive Officer

        Dear Members of the Board:

        I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of Microsoft to make a proposal for a business combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!. Under our proposal, Microsoft would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Yahoo! common stock for per share consideration of $31 based on Microsoft's closing share price on January 31, 2008, payable in the form of $31 in cash or 0.9509 of a share of Microsoft common stock. Microsoft would provide each Yahoo! shareholder with the ability to choose whether to receive the consideration in cash or Microsoft common stock, subject to pro-ration so that in the aggregate one-half of the Yahoo! common shares will be exchanged for shares of Microsoft common stock and one-half of the Yahoo! common shares will be converted into the right to receive cash. Our proposal is not subject to any financing condition.

        Our proposal represents a 62% premium above the closing price of Yahoo! common stock of $19.18 on January 31, 2008. The implied premium for the operating assets of the company clearly is considerably greater when adjusted for the minority, non-controlled assets and cash. By whatever financial measure you use - EBITDA, free cash flow, operating cash flow, net income, or analyst target prices - this proposal represents a compelling value realization event for your shareholders.

        We believe that Microsoft common stock represents a very attractive investment opportunity for Yahoo!'s shareholders. Microsoft has generated revenue growth of 15%, earnings growth of 26%, and a return on equity of 35% on average for the last three years. Microsoft's share price has generated shareholder returns of 8% during the last one year period and 28% during the last three year period, significantly outperforming the S&P 500. It is our view that Microsoft has significant potential upside given the continued solid growth in our core businesses, the recent launch of Windows Vista, and other strategic initiatives.

        Microsoft's consistent belief has been that the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! clearly represents the best way to deliver maximum value to our respective shareholders, as well as create a more efficient and competitive company that would provide greater value and service to our customers. In late 2006 and early 2007, we jointly explored a broad range of ways in which our two companies might work together. These discussions were based on a vision that the online businesses of Microsoft and Yahoo! should be aligned in some way to create a more effective competitor in the online marketplace. We discussed a number of alternatives ranging from commercial partnerships to a merger proposal, which you rejected. While a commercial partnership may have made sense at one time, Microsoft believes that the only alternative now is the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! that we are proposing.

        In February 2007, I received a letter from your Chairman indicating the view of the Yahoo! Board that "now is not the right time from the perspective of our shareholders to enter into discussions regarding an acquisition transaction." According to that letter, the principal reason for this view was the Yahoo! Board's confidence in the "potential upside" if management successfully executed on a reformulated strategy based on certain operational initiatives, such as Project Panama, and a significant organizational realignment. A year has gone by, and the competitive situation has not improved.

        While online advertising growth continues, there are significant benefits of scale in advertising platform economics, in capital costs for search index build-out, and in research and development, making this a time of industry consolidation and convergence. Today, the market is increasingly dominated by one player who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition. Together, Microsoft and Yahoo! can offer a credible alternative for consumers, advertisers, and publishers. Synergies of this combination fall into four areas:

        Scale economics: This combination enables synergies related to scale economics of the advertising platform where today there is only one competitor at scale. This includes synergies across both search and non-search related advertising that will strengthen the value proposition to both advertisers and publishers. Additionally, the combination allows us to consolidate capital spending.

        Expanded R&D capacity: The combined talent of our engineering resources can be focused on R&D priorities such as a single search index and single advertising platform. Together we can unleash new levels of innovation, delivering enhanced user experiences, breakthroughs in search, and new advertising platform capabilities. Many of these breakthroughs are a function of an engineering scale that today neither of our companies has on its own.

        Operational efficiencies: Eliminating redundant infrastructure and duplicative operating costs will improve the financial performance of the combined entity.

        Emerging user experiences: Our combined ability to focus engineering resources that drive innovation in emerging scenarios such as video, mobile services, online commerce, social media, and social platforms is greatly enhanced.

        We would value the opportunity to further discuss with you how to optimize the integration of our respective businesses to create a leading global technology company with exceptional display and search advertising capabilities. You should also be aware that we intend to offer significant retention packages to your engineers, key leaders and employees across all disciplines.

        We have dedicated considerable time and resources to an analysis of a potential transaction and are confident that the combination will receive all necessary regulatory approvals. We look forward to discussing this with you, and both our internal legal team and outside counsel are available to meet with your counsel at their earliest convenience.

        Our proposal is subject to the negotiation of a definitive merger agreement and our having the opportunity to conduct certain limited and confirmatory due diligence. In addition, because a portion of the aggregate merger consideration would consist of Microsoft common stock, we would provide Yahoo! the opportunity to conduct appropriate limited due diligence with respect to Microsoft. We are prepared to deliver a draft merger agreement to you and begin discussions immediately.

        In light of the significance of this proposal to your shareholders and ours, as well as the potential for selective disclosures, our intention is to publicly release the text of this letter tomorrow morning.

        Due to the importance of these discussions and the value represented by our proposal, we expect the Yahoo! Board to engage in a full review of our proposal. My leadership team and I would be happy to make ourselves available to meet with you and your Board at your earliest convenience. Depending on the nature of your response, Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!'s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.

        We believe this proposal represents a unique opportunity to create significant value for Yahoo!'s shareholders and employees, and the combined company will be better positioned to provide an enhanced value proposition to users and advertisers. We hope that you and your Board share our enthusiasm, and we look forward to a prompt and favorable reply.

        Sincerely yours, /s/ Steven A. Ballmer

        Steven A. Ballmer

        Chief Executive Officer

        Microsoft Corporation

Re:Letter from Ballmer to Yahoo! Board (4, Funny)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260482)

Hey, Ballmer: I can help with your goal of making "a more efficient" company. Instead of using buzzwords like "this proposal represents a compelling value realization event for your shareholders", you could say something like "this is a good deal for your shareholders."

Eliminating unnecessary, extraneous keystrokes on a corporate scale represents a compelling efficiency realization event for your shareholders.

So there. :P

Says what he means (2, Insightful)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260608)

...Instead of using buzzwords like "this proposal represents a compelling value realization event for your shareholders", you could say something like "this is a good deal for your shareholders."

These MBA types may be all fat and bluster, but often let the truth slip out anyway. Don't read more into his statement than is there. Sure, if you were in charge, you'd be working on deals that would be good for your shareholders.

But that's not what he's about and that's not what this deal is about. "Value realization" is an obfuscated way of saying "extending our desktop monopoly to web searches" and "locking web users into our proprietary protocols and technologies".

Re:Letter from Ballmer to Yahoo! Board (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260592)

Scale economics: This combination enables synergies related to scale economics of the advertising platform where today there is only one competitor at scale.

*cough*Google*cough*

So This Means... (5, Insightful)

flyneye (84093) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260268)

So this means people will begin avoiding Yahoo with the same impunity they avoid MSN?
Theoretically Microsoft could buy up anything good about the internet so we can all shut our computers down and settle in w/a trip to the library and a good book.

Re:So This Means... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260328)

I have at&t/yahoo ADSL, and if bought by Microsoft I'd be pissed, I don't want to pay any money to the Redmond dirtbags.

Re:So This Means... (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260440)

Yes,I see,there are casualties in Microsofts war against mankind.

Re:So This Means... (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260538)

You have to be careful then about which news articles you link to, or vote up, because some are serving ads for the beast. That goes double for sites that are owned by or affiliated with the beast.

Re:So This Means... (3, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260392)

So this means people will begin avoiding Yahoo with the same impunity they avoid MSN?
Theoretically Microsoft could buy up anything good about the internet so we can all shut our computers down and settle in w/a trip to the library and a good book.
I am sure Yahoo already lost a lot of users just because of the rumor/bid. I actually checked if closing/purging Yahoo account is still easy and my account exists there since 1998. Guess why that account was opened first time? Hotmail got acquired by MS and I was one of first to ask if there is a way to close my account ;) Moved to Yahoo the day it was announced.

Re:So This Means... (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260442)

Don't think you meant to use the word 'impunity' there.

Re:So This Means... (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260522)


impunity
n. exemption from punishment.
In Microsofts war against mankind,Bill is taking no prisoners and wants to punish us all.Has somethin' to do with the code he wrote for that crappy 4 bit computer his daddy bought him getting spread far and wide(OMG WAREZ!).

so.... (2, Interesting)

mahju (160244) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260274)

I'm not a MS fanboy, so I have my doubts that they will pull this off well, but...

I can see how this will work (and takes fight to google a bit more). However there will be a load of sites now that will overlap (e.g. Hotmail & Yahoo Mail)... quesiton is, will this mean a lot of consolidation or will they stay diverse and unique???

Re:so.... (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260606)

I'm not a MS fanboy
Oh No!

Zimbra (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260280)

Slashdot discussed the Yahoo! buyout of Zimbra just a few weeks ago. Now we have the threat of Microsoft buying what is possibly the biggest competitor to Exchange.

I'm pretty sure any regulatory approval would mean them disposing of Zimbra, but it must be a time of frustration and worry to the staff there.

Re:Zimbra (3, Funny)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260382)

Just in case you just now got out of the DeLorean, Yahoo bought Zimbra back in September.

Re:Zimbra (1)

dropadrop (1057046) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260406)

This was the first thing that came to my mind too. With a lot of companies moving from Exchange to Zimbra Microsoft could easily strangle that first thing after the acquisition.

Maybe in the Bizarro Universe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260544)

Not all that many companies are migrating to Zimbra in the Real World. It's a non issue.

Is this innovation? (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260286)

I'd like to ask Mr. Ballmer if this [potential acquisition] is part of what it calls innovation. I dislike Yahoo and Microsoft because of what I see as bias in search results and the bloated home pages.

Its esactly what Monkey Boy sees and (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260324)

wants to STOP.

Re:Is this innovation? (3, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260476)

One nice thing about Live.com, at least in my humble opinion, is that people haven't gamed the hell out of it. People have SEO'd the crap out of meaningless pages on google, so within the first five to ten results for any given search, I find crap. I haven't seen that with Live.

I try and mix it up, I still use Google a lot but unless they find a way to get people to stop gaming the system, I think Google will have some problems. Seeing pages filled with banner ads in your first ten results for an engineering or computer science topic is disheartening.

Priceless quote. (5, Funny)

jwietelmann (1220240) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260290)

From the article:

"Today, the market is increasingly dominated by one player, who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition," Microsoft said.
Sound like anyone you know?

Re:Priceless quote. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260484)

Oh wait! I know this one...It's ummm...crap! Not Apple. Not Altavista. It's on the tip of my tongue...

Google beware! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260306)

An IE with a locked in Yahoo! search engine... that ought to kick Google out of the Windows platform. Take that you new evil Google!

Oh, no, Mr. Bill! Leave my Yahoo! Alone!! (3, Interesting)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260312)

What would this mean to Yahoo E-mail? Or Flickr? Or the great web developer toolkits Yahoo has release? Just imagine the migration of all Yahoo services over to Windows Server. Unless they leave it alone, whatever Microsoft does would be the kiss of death to what Yahoo is.

The only thing that matters: EMAIL (5, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260330)

I have 10 years of email in yahoo. If MS takes over, what then? Will they force everyone into hotmail accounts? I think I'm going to be spending a few hours every night downloading and saving my email off line.

Interesting that - imagine building a business using online apps, only to have your supplier go under and get bought out in some botched effort, and then lose history...

I think there are a number of serious implications in this MS/Yahoo deal. The monopoly aspect is actually the least problematic: the loss of history is a greater problem.

But then, maybe the Feds under a Democratic Admin will say "nuh uh!" and kill the deal...

RS

Re:The only thing that matters: EMAIL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260420)

I think I'm going to be spending a few hours every night downloading and saving my email off line.

Huh? If it's *at all* important to you, you should already be keeping offline copies. Yahoo could lose all your email at any time with no redress - and this has happened to many webmail users on a number of occasions.
It's not as if hard drive space costs anything to speak of these days.

Re:The only thing that matters: EMAIL (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260478)

http://ypopsemail.com/ [ypopsemail.com]

(In case you aren't already aware of it or something similar)

Re:The only thing that matters: EMAIL (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260488)

A good portion of the value of Yahoo! to Microsoft is in their customers. I am pretty sure that they will make all efforts to keep the customers. Throwing away Yahoo! customer's data sounds like the last thing they have in mind. They might be greedy but they're not stupid.

Re:The only thing that matters: EMAIL (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260512)

I currently only use Yahoo for email (two accounts since 1998/1999). I currently mainly use Google for search (no email though).

In the event of Microsoft actually buying Yahoo, I'm going to take advantage of that POP3 offer for my email, sort it properly and delete all my emails from my two accounts. I'll continue to use them, but only because there are no real alternatives that I know of (that are free...).

I don't consider Hotmail an alternative, and haven't done since I first examined it back in 1998. As for GMail, I had an account at one stage, didn't use it and now have forgotten the password. I've since used it for a corporate email that I currently, and I dislike it.

Yeh, so if you don't have POP3, I don't know why, but I know that both the .com.au and .co.uk yahoo addresses have it available. (I'm not sure if you have to sign up to receive "special Yahoo emails" (read ads) or not, but I have signed up for these things, and have received about 6 pieces of email from Yahoo in relation to this, in the past 5 years (or more...). It is worth it.)

Re:The only thing that matters: EMAIL (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260536)

Fuck. I've got a Yahoo email account going back to 1999. I had a Hotmail account since 1996 (when it was still independent) but gave it up after Microsoft ruined the service (bad UI, bad spam-filtering, non-blockable official MS spam).

I'd really hate to have to switch to another email provider for my "permanent" email service.

Re:The only thing that matters: EMAIL (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260586)

But then, maybe the Feds under a Democratic Admin will say "nuh uh!" and kill the deal...
I'm cynical today, but it bears thinking about the fact that the same money that elects Republicans elects Democrats. Yet another reason to support someone besides the ass and elephant.

And here's something to nibble on: anyone who supports Ron Paul supports letting this merger happen, consequences be damned. Because, y'know, the free market will fix the problem... a competitor will rise like Phoenix from the ashes of Yahoo. Not to get off too far on a tangent, but now it appears we're down to two main competitors in the IT world... how long will it be before we are always forced with choosing the lesser of two evils? Is this really the optimal situation? We have it in politics, we're getting it in major IT players.

eliminate the competition... not going to work (1)

AlvinTheNerd (1174143) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260336)

Buying out all of the competition does give you more market share, but that isn't going to last. You buy up Yahoo and not everyone is going to go from yahoo to msn. There is a reason people don't use msn even though it is defaulted on most computers. They go out of their way to avoid msn. And even if they take down every major search engine, how long will it be before some new idea comes roaring out of nowhere into dominance? That said, I think Yahoo is outdated. It is built around getting everything from one source, which was popular with dial up as it took so long to search, but not anymore. So I say to the yahoo shareholders, sell sell sell. If you don't, start redesigning or you will loss more money. And long live the all night hackers, dorm room brain storms, and tinkers. Brings whats next. Cus, I can guarantee we will not see much innovation from Microsoft.

Write-in (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260352)

YaHotMail

Re:Write-in (1)

Stavr0 (35032) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260428)

YaHotMail
This was a poll a few moments ago, what happened?

Re:Write-in (1)

cordsie (565171) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260508)

I think someone put up a poll and an article about the same subject at the same time and pointed them at the same comments page. Now all the poll-specific jokes are going to be confusing and out of context.

The Empire Strikes Back (5, Insightful)

QuatermassX (808146) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260354)

It was only a matter of time before Microsoft decided to try to get a final regulatory pass from the Bush administration before the inauguration of a less-sympathetic President in 2009.

This deal makes a lot of sense for Microsoft (sort of - I'm assuming Yahoo!'s ad business really is worth the cash), but I can't see how this is at all good for Yahoo! or the marketplace at large.

Is the plan to re-brand everything as Microsoft Live! (keeping the exclamation mark) - thus destroying pretty much the only thing Yahoo! has going for it - brand recognition?

I would be very sad to see Yahoo! and their odd collection of services get subsumed and destroyed in a merger with Microsoft. Yes, I'm assuming much of Yahoo!'s tech portfolio would be wiped away or left to die - this wouldn't be the sort of merger Adobe engineered with Macromedia by a long shot.

Re:The Empire Strikes Back (2, Insightful)

WaZiX (766733) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260594)

This deal makes a lot of sense for Microsoft (sort of - I'm assuming Yahoo!'s ad business really is worth the cash), but I can't see how this is at all good for Yahoo! or the marketplace at large.
The question is not whether it's a good deal for Yahoo!, the question is whether it's a good deal for Yahoo! shareholders... Anyways, paying a 62% premium on the market value to just let yahoo! die out seems like a pretty bad deal to me, so I very much doubt that Microsoft will just let the Yahoo! brand die out...

Farewell Yahoo (1)

lightperson (1186737) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260366)

It should be easy enough to remove all bookmarks to Yahoo services. There are very good substitutes around.

Internet Explorer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260370)

Could they just bloody well buy Opera and call it Internet Explorer 8 while their at it??

If you can't make a good web browser, just buy one! Right?

I've been using Opera exclusively for over two years and it's everything Internet Explorer should be, plus more (think, it works in Linux and Mac OS X, has instant-on skins, widgets, etc.). The only time I use another browser is for Windows Update and the occassional Internet Explorer only website. IE7 is OK, but it real pales in comparison to Opera 7/8/9.

Missing Option (1)

cordsie (565171) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260372)

The biggest business blunder of the century.

flickr (5, Insightful)

suzerain (245705) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260378)

Shit, now this means the photos I have on flickr are going to be owned by Microsoft? Oy vey. Can we have a "good photo sharing site" thread now so I can find the alternatives?

Re:flickr (1)

CheeseTroll (696413) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260596)

Well, if you're looking for one that won't be acquired by Microsoft anytime soon, try this one. [google.com]

Bad move that will be nixed by regulators anyway (2, Interesting)

surfingmarmot (858550) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260380)

Google has 77% market share in search while Yahoo has 16% and Microsoft a little under 4%. If Microsoft and Yahoo brands alone can't get any better share than that, I don;t see how a merger is going to help. Mergers make sense for this kind of deal for only major two reasons: 1) increase efficiency or capital for business model that is failing only because of lack of it or 2) to take a strong brand move it in to a new market with new technology. Neither is the case here: both brands are well-known already and in the market. So neither is bringing anything to the other they didn't already have. There is no synergy here--just a combination of two losing armies that will have too many redundant generals and soldiers and are desperate. The market will become more efficient with this "natural" consolidation but I cannot see an increase in competitive position for either of them. In any event, odds are that the EU won't let this pass muster anyway. Maybe even the DOJ will arouse from its deep slumber on this one.

Excellent news! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260404)

I'm SO glad to see two evil empires merge! I knew Yahoo would decline after they wiped out my e-mail account for no reason. I have boycotted them and their affiliates ever since. And considering what Microsoft did to hotmail after they bought them, this sounds like a perfect match!

Kudos to the merger!

Going to Hotmail Hell (1, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260414)

If MS is allowed to buy Yahoo to compete with Google, they will screw up Yahoo as badly as they screwed up Hotmail when they bought that attempt to compete with AOL.

Except this time Google is actually a strong, smart company, not just a stock play built on a mountain of email addresses. So Google will find it easier to compete with both Microsoft and Yahoo.

This merger is a terrible move towards monopoly. Even if this time it's not a Microsoft monopoly growing, but rather Microsoft thinning out competition to move a competitor closer to monopoly when Microsoft loses.

Microsoft's monopoly money... (3, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260422)

... accumulated through the illegal leveraging of their desktop monopoly. Ever wonder where all the money from the over-priced MS Windows and MS Office franchises goes?

Microsoft is looking to put google out of business.

What's the date??!? (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260424)

I just woke up, and as per my usual habit, I check my email, then Slashdot. I was still groggy, so upon seeing this headline, I thought "Oh shit, it's April 1, already?!?". Then I checked the big news outlets. Wow.

Now we can have a new meme: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22260430)

MICROHOO!

or maybe the more modest

MICROSOFT!

but, wait a moment, they are buying it for MSN, so maybe it should be

MSNHOO!

Or it's just

MSN WHO?

Yahoo Messenger vs. MSN/Windows Live (1)

Atti K. (1169503) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260434)

Fine, I guess they'll fix the interworking between the two IM networks too, which doesn't work all the time as it should. Yahoo users will simply be merged into MSN, and Yahoo Messenger will cease to exist. :))

Irony? (2, Insightful)

CheckeredFlag (950001) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260438)

"Today, the market is increasingly dominated by one player, who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition," Microsoft said. "Together, Microsoft and Yahoo can offer a credible alternative."

Am I the only one who sees the ironic humor of this statement?

Microsoft! Yahoo!! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260448)

Most likely everybody and his dog submitted this story right as I was submitting it this morning. I'm trying to see some good news in this, and I think I found it as I was submitting. It's that damned exclamation point! My headline read "Microsoft to buy Yahoo!?

Mr. Ballmer, if you succeed in your takeove of Yahoo! please, for the sake of bloggers and slashdot submitters everywhere (yeah, I know, you can't be too happy with us GNU kids on the block), get rid of that stupid dotcomyuppified exclamation mark.

Before slashdotters comment on the irony of my coining a new word by stringing together old words, it was deliberate.

I just thought of another good thing - maybe Yahoo and Microsoft! Will both go broke. I mean, it's hell here in Springfield (You guys know my ex-wife Satan lives here, right?) and we got a foot of snow last night.

-mcgrew

As a yahoo finance reader (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260450)

Let me say, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

Yahoo finance isn't the greatest UI in the world, but they do have some good articles and my bet is that Microsoft will just make it ugly, propietary to IE, and take any sort of depth from the articles......Pretty much like they do with everything else.

But...why? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260472)

Yahoo is no where NEAR as relevant as it was in the late 90's/early 00's...why would Microsoft want to do this?

The only two reasons I can think of are A. All of the services that Yahoo currently offers, and B. Microsoft's attempt to get more fruit from the advertising tree in their ongoing competition with Google...

What do you all think?

Re:But...why? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260564)

They think that they can improve management at Yahoo! to the extent that, over an extended period, they will make more money than the deal is costing them.

It's tangentially about putting Google out of business; not for the emotional satisfaction or to prove they are better, but because Google makes a lot of money, and that is something Microsoft likes to do, so they tend to always be looking for ways to do it.

I contacted the FTC to complain (4, Interesting)

div_2n (525075) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260494)

I wrote to the FTC to complain because since Yahoo now owns Zimbra, this means that Microsoft will have the ability to kill the only serious competitor to their Exchange platform.

I know about the other solutions, but none are as feature complete IMHO as Zimbra. Two words: Blackberry integration.

Ballmer to kill Google? (1)

Ubukool (1231400) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260530)

At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office," Lucovosky recounted, adding that Ballmer then launched into a tirade about Google chief executive Eric Schmidt. "I'm going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f***ing kill Google." I wonder if they are perhaps related? *wink*

Let them but it. Think Time Warner and AOL (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260546)

No way Yahoo is worth that amount of cash. If Microsoft want to throw so much money after so few assets, let them. I don't se how they will recover the investment, as yahoo is is waaay behind google in indexing, advertising etc.

Auto-forward scripts to export Yahoo mail? (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260574)

A couple of years ago I recall seeing some scripts that would go through your Yahoo mailbox, and forward your old email to an account of your choosing. I hardly want to give MS $20 bucks to enable my jumping ship.

Anyone know where these went?

One can always hope... (1)

Trollovich (1212554) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260590)

that the incompetence of MS will ruin Yahoo too. I don't consider Yahoo to be a great site overall, it's barely OK, but this doesn't mean it can't get any worse, on the contrary.
So, secretly I'm hoping that if this deal ever makes it, then it will just make MS lose money faster...
After all, when you're company is losing money in a certain market, you buy a company that is _also_ losing money...? Sure, that makes sense.

Is Yahoo the #1 destination? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#22260604)

One of the links claims yahoo is the number 1 destination in the internet. But on machines where I run the netcraft toolbar, google.com was #1 for a long time. And many variations of google, gmail, were leading yahoo. Dont know where they got the claim yahoo being #1 destination.
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