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Yahoo Deal Is Big, but Is It the Next Big Thing?

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the keeping-up-with-the-googses dept.

Microsoft 159

mattsgotredhair brings us a NYTimes article discussing how Microsoft's bid for Yahoo contrasts against one of the core philosophies of Silicon Valley: looking forward. From the Times: "Microsoft may see Yahoo as its last best chance to catch up. But for all its size and ambition, the bid has not been greeted with enthusiasm. That may be because Silicon Valley favors bottom-up innovation instead of growth by acquisition. The region's investment money and brain power are tuned to start-ups that can anticipate the next big thing rather than chase the last one. 'This is the very nature of the Valley,' said Jim Breyer of the venture capital firm Accel Partners. 'After very strong growth, businesses by definition start to slow as competition increases and young creative start-ups begin to attack the incumbents.'"

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Could it be .... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281606)

That it ends up hurting the US economy ?

Re:Could it be .... (4, Interesting)

irtza (893217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282452)

I doubt this will impact the economy much. Granted that if this deal goes ahead, many redundant jobs may be cut, but in the end I think that market forces would have forced further contraction in either Microsoft's own web initiatives or on yahoo's causing these people to be removed from there job anyways - look at the layoffs at yahoo that have already occurred. Despite my distaste for MS, this would probably be beneficial to the US economy. The real question is if there is still enough name recognition and resources within yahoo to merit such a move.

Unfortunately for MS, the real threat to Google will most likely be from another startup kind of like what this article is getting at. What I find intersting is that if the patent system actually worked, one of the early search engines such as web crawler or alta vista would still control the market and companies such as Google and MS would have had to bow out secondary to valid patents. - and this would allow these companies in theory to grow their technology - plus they could use the patent clout to recruit the appropriate talent (in theory).

In the end the thing that will hurt the US economy the most is globalization and the realization that intelligence and the ability to "create" isn't as valuable as it may seem. It can be converted to a commodity along with almost everything else.

If soft engineers in this country want protection, they will most likely need a union and a licensing exam like lawyers and doctors

wrong city (5, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281610)

That may be because Silicon Valley favors bottom-up innovation

No, that's San Francisco.

Re:wrong city (1)

repvik (96666) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283142)

Awww, mods, have you no (dirty) humor?

What about Google? (5, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281622)

That may be because Silicon Valley favors bottom-up innovation instead of growth by acquisition
This explains why Google is so unpopular in Silicon Valley.

Re:What about Google? (2, Interesting)

ishobo (160209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281836)

The valley does indeed favor bottom-up innovation, because that generates properties for acquisitions. Most companies in Silicon Valley would not exist in the form they are today if it were not for acquiring other companies or product lines - Oracle, Marvell, Sun, AMD, National Semi, HP, and yes Google.

Re:What about Google? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282044)

And besides, Google is pretty innovative still. Large or not, they still have that "edge" that seem lacking in larger companies.

Re:What about Google? (2, Insightful)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282890)

they still have that "edge" that seem lacking in larger companies.

Like Yahoo and Microsoft for example.

Re:What about Google? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283138)

Uh are you saying they are lacking said edge, because then I agree...

Re:What about Google? (1)

riseoftheindividual (1214958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283230)

Yep. I don't remember the last time Yahoo had any type of edge. I'll admit I don't know all their offerings, but the ones I do know, business email and their ecommerce plans, are archaic at best. The last time they updated their yahoo store ecommerce system, it brought it up to state-of-the-5-years-ago-art. Compare their offerings(taking note of their pricing structure) to offerings from smaller competitors, they simply aren't a good deal when you do the math and don't even deliver all the same features.

Microsoft hasn't had a youthful technical edge in a long time. The shipping version of Vista(versus what they said they were going to do) shows all the signs of a stagnating tech behemoth that is more driven by share price concerns than delivering innovative products.

I really do not get it... (5, Interesting)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281628)

How is this the next big thing when MS buying Yahoo shows how frustrated they are with their MSN Live initiative? Yes, I definitely think that buying Yahoo was a smart move at a great longterm price, but other than them building it directly into Vista 2.0, I dont see how much more good it will do them. The move was simply them "buying" marketshare in an attempt to trump Google. Considering that Yahoo has already shown that they cannot compete with Google, I suspect it will turn out just like the early days of the Compaq / HP deal in relation to Dell. This is just my opinion, however...

Re:I really do not get it... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281654)

Ballmer wants market share. Logic be damned!

Re:I really do not get it... (2, Insightful)

ergean (582285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281930)

And this is the stupidest way to get it.

All they get by this is a lot of duplication of services, they probably will attempt to merge them... and drive all those who never liked Hotmail and/or MSN to say pas and go for Google.

So if they get yahoo they should not count on its market share.

I'm not against MS, but I don't like they way they are present on the web.
Just for fun... to see what I'm saying - go to http://microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com] with firefox and then with IE and watch for the differences...
If for the front page of their main site they can't keep it the same across browsers think how would you interact with the services they provide, you'll have to use the tools they want you to use, not the ones you want to use.

In the end MS+Y!=MS... not thanks.

Re:I really do not get it... (1)

boteeka (970303) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282242)

go to http://microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com] with firefox and then with IE and watch for the differences

Looks better with Firefox. With IE there is a white rectangle in the right side. Plain ugly...

Re:I really do not get it... (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281662)

I suspect it will turn out just like the early days of the Compaq / HP deal in relation to Dell
While the early days didn't go so well in that deal, HP now has 17.6% of the market while Dell only has 13.9% [itworld.com] .

Re:I really do not get it... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281808)

You can't compare the HP/Compaq merger to a Microsoft/Yahoo! merger. First of all, infrastructure plays a much greater role in the Microsoft/Yahoo! scenario. Yahoo! is heavily run on open source software, including PHP, FreeBSD and Linux. It won't look good for Microsoft if so much more infrastructure is running on software they have belittled for years now.

So either they'll have to do like they did with Hotmail, and let it run on FreeBSD until they've basically re-written in from scratch to use their technology. Of course, that will be very costly, and likely nowhere near as good as the original (like we've seen with Hotmail). They'll be in the same position they are now, except having spent far more money.

The HP/Compaq merger was far more about combining product lines, management teams, R&D, support teams, etc. That is, it was more about an organizational merger, rather than a technological acquisition.

Re:I really do not get it... (2, Insightful)

berchca (414155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283264)

The best comparisons I can think of are other major software mergers: IBM and Lotus, SUN and Netscape Server Division. Of course, both of those were massive failures. It seems to come down to this: a company is ailing, so another company buys them either thinking they are going to fix them up or cannibalize them.

I can't see why MS would do a better job of handling Yahoo's business than they did, so while this merger will give MS a boost, it would probably be the end of Yahoo.

Re:I really do not get it... (1)

Deviate_X (578495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281756)

If Yahoo declines any further then Flickr, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Groups could be acquired by Google to give them a position in markets where they are now only minor players. Yahoo is worth 100 Doubleclick's [blogoscoped.com] , 44 billion for that is a bargin.

Re:I really do not get it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281854)

I think it's more a purchase of user base. People search more on Google, and the driver behind google's ad revenue is the assumption that because people are actively looking for something they're more inclined to buy. But people probably spend more time on Yahoo. Which might be a drawback, they generate less revenue but consume more resources. Well what if things start to change. What if Yahoo crystalizes into a huge social network around better versions of their groups, games, and their new stuff like 360? Microsoft has it's fragmented offerings as well. Were it able to integrate everything in a few years not great, but good enough, that's a huge amount of people consolidated under one corporate umbrella. Now you start mixing it with better targeted advertising, and selling things through recommendations of people connected to each other with established levels of trust in social networks, is a search engine ad the best way to sell something? Never mind googles lunch, when you've got these interconnected individuals who feel that pull of another person on the otherside of the medium, people spending 8 hours a day on-line, sharing and asking others to invest in their cultural experience (via webcast, blog, or recommendation of John Woo's Bullet In the Head naturally sponsored by Best Buy) what does that mean for TV? When you can concievably know that the person at the other end of your ad is receptive to, who their on-line community is, where they live, how crappy their neighbors are, how they vote, when they work, when they play, and, by process of elimination, when they sleep, what does THAT do for being able to encourage people to buy your products or services? Some people might find this idea dystopian. But the otherside can look bright too. Companies that won't waste my time with things I'm not interested in. It's not cost effective, and they know it up front. So I'm presented of a view of the world that I'd most like to explore. Some people might add or revise that to be a view of the world that most ably preys upon our individual fears. I wouldn't, perhaps I overindulge in optimism.

Re:I really do not get it... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282050)

omg walloftext

Re:I really do not get it... (4, Informative)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281868)

Yes, I definitely think that buying Yahoo was a smart move at a great longterm price...
The move was simply them "buying" marketshare in an attempt to trump Google.


Ummm, you are aware that Microsoft has not actually bought Yahoo, right? MS has made Yahoo an offer. Yahoo has not yet responded to that offer.

Re:I really do not get it... (5, Insightful)

Herschel Cohen (568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282072)

Well it really was not an offer. As I read it, it was a statement of intent. That is, most likely they plan to acquire shares from holders that are willing to sell directly to MS at a premium. Once a sufficient percentage is obtained they move to take over the company by a proxy vote. Control is final after a positive review by the DOJ and the EU.

This is a hostile take over where the purchaser could care less what either the board and the management thinks or responds.

Re:I really do not get it... (1)

Skim123 (3322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283382)

I, for one, hope that the sale doesn't succeed. Yahoo's importance in the online world has steadily been decreasing since the start of this century. I think the best Microsoft/Yahoo merger comparison is the AOL/Time Warner merger, which was a colossal failure. I see the same thing here for MSFT. If they buy Yahoo, I don't expect Yahoo's gradual slide into obscurity to abate or reverse. I'm guessing that five to ten years from now Yahoo will have about as much marketshare and brand recognition in adolescents as Altavista and Ask.com.

Re:I really do not get it... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282182)

Yes, I definitely think that buying Yahoo was a smart move at a great longterm price

I think it's a horrible move; they're basically spending a ridiculous amount of money (though how M&A deals are structured it's probably not as much out-of-pocket as it sounds) to get a fading company.

Re:I really do not get it... (1)

schnibitz (904925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282474)

It's partly marketshare as others above me have commented, but also mindshare. MS is getting long in the tooth. It isn't associated with the younger kids as a cool new thing anymore. It's old, and it's loosing its relevance with each passing year by no other force than simply the progression of time. Think back to when you were a kid. Didn't you identify with the newer more evolved anything? Why? Because you thought it was more like you, younger, more evolved. MS knows it's loosing mindshare every day. Despite it's name being on everything, people have grown tired of it.

Re:I really do not get it... (2, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282774)

Microsoft has what Yahoo alone doesn't: an almost limitless supply of cash. MS can afford to offer deeply discounted prices to advertisers in order to to eat up Google's marketshare. After they "cut off the air supply" (this is a well-known Microsoft expression), they can start making money from Yahoo. It may take several years, but Microsoft is in no hurry, as long as they can continue selling whatever OS they produce.

Re:I really do not get it... (4, Insightful)

Chriscypher (409959) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283034)

"More companies die of indigestion than starvation."

("The HP Way," Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard, page 142)

What makes a search engine worth so much ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281630)

How do search engines make money ?
Is is providing information to databases for marketing. snooping and other marketing research?,
Is is advertising ?
Personally, I ignore the advertising and so can others

Re:What makes a search engine worth so much ? (4, Informative)

ishobo (160209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281744)

Yahoo is more than a search engine. The search part of the house is much smaller than the other properties.

Re:What makes a search engine worth so much ? (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282408)

Isn't that part of the problem? People think Yahoo = search + mail, and that yahoo.com is the search page, and then say "but it's not as clean as Google's search page".

Re:What makes a search engine worth so much ? (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282666)

That's only a problem on Slashdot where people seems to have a mental block against remembering that Yahoo has far more services than search.

Re:What makes a search engine worth so much ? (1)

afabbro (33948) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282912)

That's only a problem on Slashdot where people seems to have a mental block against remembering that Yahoo has far more services than search.

Sure, they offer more services. It's just that no one wants them.

Once upon a time I used them for maps, but then Google was better.

Once upon a time I think I had an email account with them, but then Google was better.

I may have used them once or twice for category listings, but no one can keep up with the Internet and category-present it.

I might have placed a classified ad there a long time ago, but of course today I'd use Craigslist.

Yahoo Travel? I used to check it until I realized it had the same prices as Expedia, Orbitz, etc.

So what's left? YahooChat? I just don't see any big businesses in Yahooe except search + advertising, and their share is dwindling. Heck, they had a four year head start over Google and were rapidly overtaken. BTW, as a money-making business, Google is nothing more than search + advertising, but at least they're the market leader.

Fix your damn operating system first (1)

Paktu (1103861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281634)

Am I the only one that thinks Microsoft's resources would be better spent fixing some of the more serious complaints about Vista? I know they are going to claim "we can handle both the Yahoo acquisition and improve Vista", but they have addressed few of the major issues with Vista even prior to this announcement.

Ceding any further market share to Apple (or god forbid, Ubuntu) could seriously threaten their most lucrative monopoly.

Is this slashdot (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281682)

Do you really think those two things have anything to do with each other? You're mixing up two different divisions in Microsoft.

Also, do you really think that throwing more programmers at a software project will make it be finished faster?

Re:Is this slashdot (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281830)

With the amount of programmers at Microsoft they would have been better to let multiple separate teams go and build up from an equal base (2000 or xp) and see which is looking and feeling better after 12 months instead of sending an entire division out to work on a single menu item configuration.

Re:Is this slashdot (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281918)

I think that's pretty standard Microsoft practise.

(Source: said by a lecturer at my university who knows some Microsoft UK managers.)

But compare: "hey guys, the other team have put in X, it looks really cool, can you add that too?" and "guys, the other team already have X, what are you doing?". It would have to be managed really well to avoid pissing off the developers.

Re:Is this slashdot (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281844)

You mean a steady diet of internet news doesn't make me an expert? I want a refund!

Re:Fix your damn operating system first (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281846)

Fixing Vista would be like closing the barn door after the horse escaped. if microsoft had any good sense they would follow in Apple's footsteps (sortof) and build the next version of windows on top of a BSD flavor...

Re:Fix your damn operating system first (1)

Herschel Cohen (568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282110)

Please correct me if I am wrong, but that sounds like NT.

Re:Fix your damn operating system first (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283092)

let me go for succinct: you're wrong ;)
NT is a kernel, but it is neither UNIX nor POSIX compliant.

This is what MS did before and it worked back then (4, Insightful)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281646)

It worked when Microsoft bought DOS, it worked when Microsoft bought Hotmail, it's current biggest web service. Microsoft does try to innovate, but most often that stuff just falls flat on its face, when Microsoft buys other people's products though, that's when they hit a winner. Saying that the most wealthy, successful software company in the world is doomed to failure for going against silicon valley reasoning is futile when that's what they've always done and made more than anyone else while doing.

Re:This is what MS did before and it worked back t (5, Insightful)

Herschel Cohen (568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282164)

Saying ... most wealthy, successful software company in the world is doomed to failure ...
I don't read it that way, however, in business studies attempts to merge companies with differing cultures can devastate the acquiring company. Moreover, the business being fast paced can doom the pursuer to a more distant relative standing than the sum of the two companies' starting market shares. Take one of the examples you cited: HotMail, how long did it take MS to get that right? The danger is they may not have the time to get it right.

I really doubt that MS will disappear due to this or other missteps, but that does not mean the probabilities are nil to none.

But they already have Search (4, Insightful)

msgmonkey (599753) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282180)

From what I can remember the aquisitions though have always been for technology they don't already own or do own but inferior. If it goes through they get Yahoo market share, but if they tinker with Yahoo too much most likely people will leave Yahoo since if they wanted to use Microsoft Search they would do. Market share is all well and good, but even with their combined market share they would still be a long way behind Google and Yahoo has nothing that I can see that could be classed as a "Killer App". If the sale does go ahead what is going to happen? Are they going to call it Microsoft Yahoo and have the run side by side with their current offerings? Also Yahoo is also a failing company with no direction, they even brought back an original founder to get things moving again but it has n't made any difference. Personally it does n't make any sense to me, but maybe I will be proved wrong time will tell.

Re:This is what MS did before and it worked back t (3, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282198)

But Microsoft usually buys really small companies with good products where they can use their marketing skills to build up market share. Yahoo is a bit different to their usual takeover target.

Re:This is what MS did before and it worked back t (2, Insightful)

Aikar (1158019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282268)

Hotmail the biggest web service? Just cause you have 5 billion spam email accounts doesnt make it the biggest, Id say its one the biggest used for disposable email spam accounts. Id say gmail is trumping Hotmail.

Re:This is what MS did before and it worked back t (1)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282416)

Id say gmail is trumping Hotmail.

I think that you will find that Microsoft does not (yet) own gmail. The grandparent said that Hotmail was MS's biggest web service, not the biggest service of all on the web.

Re:This is what MS did before and it worked back t (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282310)

That's mostly true. However... Yahoo's another thing altogether.

The products you mention there were innovative. They were from small companies that were light enough to be easily assimilated. Yahoo is neither of these things. The company itself is as bloated and dysfunctional as its products. It was dying, not innovating. They've been in steady decline for at least 3 years.

If MS doesn't buy them they would go the way of AOL within 5 years. The pool on the original article got it spot on this is two dinosaurs mating. One has a chance of survival. Yahoo was already in terminal decline.

Re:This is what MS did before and it worked back t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282630)

hmmmmm..

Microsoft.... proving Slashdot nerds wrong for the last decade.

Is Silicon Valley right? (4, Interesting)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281652)

Sure, Silicon Valley VC folks love startups, because they get a piece of the action. Heck, they were happy as pigs in shit around 1998, despite the fact that about 1% of those startups had any hope of seeing a profit. But it doesn't mean that MS+Yahoo is destined to lose, simply because they're not the chic pick anymore.

None of that has any bearing on whether MS+Yahoo can beat Google or any of the hordes of little companies coming from Silicon Valley.

Re:Is Silicon Valley right? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281992)

Indeed. The Silicon Valley VC philosophy seems to be:
  1. Invest in 10 startups while they are cheap.
  2. Push them grow as fast as possible.
  3. One in ten of the startups make it, and the rest implode from capital and personnel bloat.
  4. Cash out of the one successful startup for 20x the initial investment.
  5. Go back to step 1.
Certainly, this is a money-making strategy for the VC. It's not necessarily good for the 9 failed businesses, some of whom might have been profitable if they had taken a more conservative growth approach. (And some would have failed no matter what, with or without VC juicing.)

Re:Is Silicon Valley right? (1)

Herschel Cohen (568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282178)

An acute observation. Surely there is a lot of self interest implicit in their assertion. Nonetheless, do not discount it entirely.

Re:Is Silicon Valley right? (3, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283000)

Hell, you're being kind to them. Silicon Valley's preferred method is to fork it right around step 2 and go to a step 2.5 - hype the shit out of the company and hold an IPO before the company collapses, pushing losses onto hapless investors who thought they could get rich quick.

There`s no fun without risk (1)

Joseph1337 (1146047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281666)

It`s almost everything or nothing for M$. The investment in Yahoo might be a solid weapon against Google, or a sink and a new chairmageddon

Other reasons for not being warm to the reception (5, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281696)

Microsoft has only $17 billion in cash and easily liquidatable shares (almost all MSFT stock). A $44.6 billion bid requires them to "print money" ie Shares. This deal is absolutely horrid for any responsible stock analysist or stockholder for either company. WHat Microsoft is basically offering is to produce new shares, diluting ownership for all involved, which when paired with the rapid selloff upon deal conclusion, will drive the price of the stock downward even moreso than it has been since (It still hasn't recovered from the recession of '01). Add in that their operating cash is mostly stocks which would be driven down by this, you're looking at the potential for a bite more than they can chew.

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281750)

They're not really issuing new shares, but MSFT has been repurchasing stock over the past few years and they would have to give all those shares to Yahoo's shareholders. Many investors would likely sell, and drive down the price of MSFT.

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281772)

No.. the shares that they've bought back is listed on their SEC report under cash on hand and short term investments. All of them are accounted for.

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281850)

It's only dilutive if Yahoo! is worth less than $45 Billion. The drop in the stock price is an indicator that some people think so(especially short term).

They currently have ~$1 billion a month in cash coming in, so even if it is a complete failure, they will have paid for it in a year or three.

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (2, Informative)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282426)

$1 billion gross - $1.1 billion cost == net loss of $100mil a month, which is what you are finding if you check on their growth charts since 2000.

Only way for your math to work would be for them to cancel all R&D, tech support, and shut down every server, laying off everyone.

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282746)

Where are you getting your numbers? Here are good places to look for the net income for the last quarter and last year:

http://www.microsoft.com/msft/earnings/FY08/earn_rel_q2_08.mspx#income [microsoft.com]
http://www.microsoft.com/msft/reports/ar06/staticversion/10k_fh_fin.html [microsoft.com]

I see ~$4 billion for the quarter ~$12.5 billion for the year(2006, they have not reported 2007 yet).

Note that those numbers are after taxes and such, so they are the 'net' numbers, the operating income is somewhat higher.

Maybe you were talking about Yahoo!'s earnings?

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (1)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283270)

No, I am going by microsofts. Look at their cash-on-hand numbers for the past 8 years. Went from over $50 billion to now under $17 billion. They're performing fancy accounting to try and show a profit, but once you crunch the numbers, there's no true profits being generated.

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283416)

Yeah, all that cash just up and evaporated(no, it actually didn't):

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/309852_software02.html [nwsource.com]

There are more than 9 billion shares of Microsoft outstanding; in 2004 they paid a special dividend of $3 a share; that's a $27 billion reduction in cash at hand that went straight to shareholders, not tricky accounting. Do I need to go on?

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281870)

I was going to pick up some MSFT stock, but you just "squirted" all over my plans.

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (1)

Herschel Cohen (568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282224)

You could buy some Yahoo stock and sell quickly to MS only for cash. However, I think the recent rise in Yahoo shares indicates others are pursuing that line of attack. I suggest looking elsewhere for now, or you might end up owning the stock you have decided to fore go.

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282380)

Former Chairman Bill could buy it and give it to Microsoft - he is looking at giving all his money away to charity after all.

Re:Other reasons for not being warm to the recepti (1)

danomac (1032160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283436)

...you're looking at the potential for a bite more than they can chew.

I thought Microsoft was more known for swallowing things whole anyway!

More criticism... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281704)

Many investors aren't happy.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=email_en&sid=am1odVZXMwjk [bloomberg.com]

Can you say bye bye Balmer (3, Funny)

MrCopilot (871878) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282022)

Ballmer, 51, has presided over a 44 percent drop in Microsoft shares since taking over as CEO in January 2000.

Heck of a job, Balmy!

Re:Can you say bye bye Balmer (2, Funny)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282650)

Ballmer, 51, has presided over a 44 percent drop in Microsoft shares since taking over as CEO in January 2000.



Heck of a job, Balmy!

Well, I mean..... office chairs aren't exactly cheap.

Time to switch email accounts again (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281778)

I was inconvenienced enough when I had to switch from Hotmail to Yahoo mail. Yahoo has been my primary spam account (meaning I used to to register an email for all the websites I visited, but I still occasionally scan through emails there) for years now...

It was really convenient with fetchyahoo.pl ... Yahoo's spam filters (which were pretty good compared to most of the other services I've tried) would have a first pass at it before my computer ran an additional pass. I'm guessing that functionality won't last too long once Microsoft takes over, much like Hotmail went way downhill after their acquisition, not just because they switched their servers from FreeBSD to Windows server, but the spam filtering got really weak and they added plenty of their own spam.

Anyway, not looking forward to resetting my email address for dozens of websites I don't even remember.

Re:Time to switch email accounts again (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281892)

same here

You have 13017 unread messages: Inbox(7395), Bulk(5622)

Re:Time to switch email accounts again (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281906)

Worried about your email adresses? Why not buy a domain and then forward it to whatever is the latests adress with filter you use at that moment?

That way people see your adress, but you grab it from anywhere you desire, without the roblems of setting up your own filters.

If 10USD a year (or less) is not worth it, it is not worth moaning over.

You then have about a year to move over the websites you find. The ones you do not catchm you will not have used anyway and you can set up a new account.

Re:Time to switch email accounts again (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282012)

Worried about your email adresses? Why not buy a domain and then forward it to whatever is the latests adress with filter you use at that moment?

That way people see your adress, but you grab it from anywhere you desire, without the roblems of setting up your own filters.
Ive been useing my own domains for emails for years now.
Its so good to be in control of my addresses and well worth the registration fee's.

~Dan

Re:Time to switch email accounts again (1)

jsebrech (525647) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281982)

Hotmail went way downhill after their acquisition, not just because they switched their servers from FreeBSD to Windows server, but the spam filtering got really weak and they added plenty of their own spam.

Hotmail's spam filters back in the day got worse because spammers got smarter. Hotmail these days has excellent spam filtering. It would be really weird if they bought yahoo mail and made its spam filters worse than hotmail on purpose, thereby decreasing the value of their purchase.

Re:Time to switch email accounts again (1)

BadHaggis (1179673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282186)

I don't think that Yahoo mail filters can get worse. I've setup 6 mail rules which pretty effectively weed out the spam better than their filters. OTH, during the process of defining and building the rules I noticed that each time I implemented one the spam email would change just enough to bypass the new rule. I started to think that Yahoo was sending the spam in order to get me to upgrade to a paid account.

Since I implemented my rules the nigerian stuff has pretty much died but I still get rolex, and drug emails on an almost hourly basis. If MSFT buys yahoo I'll dump that account and switch completely over to my domain and google accounts.

Re:Time to switch email accounts again (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282220)

I expect you would end up going to mail.live.com and logging in with a yahoo.com address and password.

Having said that, if the anti-trust authorities in the US and EU do block the deal, it is most likely to be on the personal email provider market. Possibly they would end up having to sell the email and messenger services to another company for the deal to go through.

Wha? Isnt being acquired the dream ? (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281780)

The techies and engineers might respect the startups, the innovators and the one who finds the next big thing, But almost all the startups dream of being acquired by the big boys. In fact for the people with the money, the sugar daddies and the venture capitalists, being acquired is really the business plan.

Vut that is true for the small startups. For a company that used to be a big boy itself, may be it is not a very "respectable" thing. But respect is probably over rated anyway.

Really? (1)

Dan100 (1003855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281796)

But for all its size and ambition, the bid has not been greeted with enthusiasm. That may be because Silicon Valley favors bottom-up innovation instead of growth by acquisition. The region's investment money and brain power are tuned to start-ups that can anticipate the next big thing rather than chase the last one.
Enthusiasm in "the valley" seems to chase pageviews more than money. Google makes money from one thing: advertising. It's advertising income is leveraged off search (both pageviews to put ads on, and technology for relevant ad-serving). It bought Doubleclick to reinforce that. Otherwise, Google may have splashed the cash but it's not got a lot back for it (I'm thinking if Youtube here, in particular, as well as smaller services such as Feedburner).

Microsoft wants the advertising dollar. Right now the very low usage of their search engine means they're a long ways behind Google. Add Yahoo's services to their own and expand their advert network across both, and it might start proving attractive to advertisers.

Favors bottom-up innovation? What about Cisco? (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281810)

Cisco is Silicon Valley's poster child for acquired innovation -- acquiring over 100 companies in the last 10 years (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisco_Systems_acquisitions [wikipedia.org] ). Letting someone else's VCs pay for your R&D is a great way to always have the best of the best technology. And don't most of the Valley's VCs and "brain-power" cater to this growth-by-acquisition model. Isn't the exit strategy of a VC or serial entrepreneur defined by getting a Cisco, Google, or Microsoft to by the company?

Lewis Black's take on this ... (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281840)

Steve Ballmer must be looking at this from Lewis Black's perspective:

We need to build a big fuckin' thing. I don't care what it is, so long as it's big ... and it's a fuckin' thing!

Want to bet Yahoo portal will become Silverlight? (1)

slashbart (316113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281900)

Sort of a roundabout way of pushing Silverlight into mainstream use?

Also, what about all the opensource stuff Yahoo is sponsoring, guess we won't see much of that anymore.

Bart

Balmer (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281908)

This would have been bigger news 5 years ago. You get the impression that Microsoft is so big and fat that by the time it gets it's fat bulk moving to the kitchen it's roommate has eaten all the ho-hos?

This is about realestate, not rewarding innovation (3, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282052)

Lots of users. Lots of places to hang signs and ads. Lots of groups. Lots of apps. Lots of little businesses.

Yahoo is a country with lots of geography. That's what Microsoft is buying.

It's not a new widget. It's not Web 2.0. It's not some sort of way-kewl social site with a new innovative bent.

It's the real estate. One more time: Microsoft is buying web real estate, not bottom feeding, not buying rotten tech.

Re:This is about realestate, not rewarding innovat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282840)

That's what Microsoft is buying.
That's what Microsoft is bidding on (aka attempting to buy)...fixed that for you.

One more time: Microsoft is buying...
One more time: Microsoft hasn't bought Yahoo yet. Again as has been previously stated in TFA, MS has not yet succeeded. Wait until Yahoo actually says Yes or No regarding MS's offer before speculating on what all will happen...good lord.

MS loses to Google because of their choices (5, Interesting)

astrashe (7452) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282108)

MS looses to Google because their management makes bad choices. At least their choices are bad when compared to Google's.

MS's management will continue to make bad choices. If they had enough money to buy Google itself, and if anti-trust concerns weren't a factor, it wouldn't matter. They would break Google and push it into the ground. They problem isn't their strategic position. The problem is in between their ears.

Look at Hotmail and Gmail. Hotmail was a very early web email service. MS bought them. Then they just let it sit there. MS people saw Oddpost coming down the road, and they should have gotten all pumped up with what was possible. That's apparently what happened at Google -- someone saw that fancy Oddpost ajax email client, and said, let's do this better than Oddpost is doing it.

MS doesn't try to do much until someone pokes them with a stick, and a lot of times they don't do much even then. Right now the world is screaming at them about all of the things wrong with Vista, and their response is -- no, you are all STUPID, and we are right, and you just don't get how awesome Vista is.

They're not fixing anything.

They're the victims of their own monopoly. They're fat and stupid and lazy, and they think the world owes them success. They're insanely profitable, but it's because they're in the catbird seat, and not because they're earning it. They don't have to earn it, and because they don't feel the heat, they can't earn it.

So you know, sit back in your lavish headquarters, and reminisce about how great it was to go out and threaten to cut off people's air supplies, and how wonderful the world was when you could bully people effectively.

I feel bad for yahoo. I remember when it was just some page on a guy's workstation at stanford. They did a lot of great things. They don't deserve this ignominious fate.

And there are stories floating around that yahoo people are saying -- there's no way in hell that we'll work for MS. So, MS, know that everyone dislikes you. And know that it's a direct consequence of your deliberately cultivated culture of bullying and thuggery.

Everyone at yahoo knows that when you buy that company, you're going to break it, and that going to work on a day to day basis is going to suck. And believe it or not, that has a lot to do with why you will not beat google.

Someday google will suck too. Their culture will rot, and dumb people will climb on top of the smart people. But that day is a long way off.

So you know, go off and think about how to make sure my monitor will prevent me from playing unauthorized videos, or how to make my computer's audio system check up on the license status of my music. Because I'm your customer, and believe me, that's what I'm really pining away for. That's what I want more than anything. You know me so well it's scary sometimes.

Re:MS loses to Google because of their choices (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283292)

Look at Hotmail and Gmail. Hotmail was a very early web email service. MS bought them. Then they just let it sit there. MS people saw Oddpost coming down the road, and they should have gotten all pumped up with what was possible. That's apparently what happened at Google -- someone saw that fancy Oddpost ajax email client, and said, let's do this better than Oddpost is doing it.

Yeah. And the result is that Hotmail has considerably more users than Gmail.
 
 

And there are stories floating around that yahoo people are saying -- there's no way in hell that we'll work for MS.

Yeah, right. It's easy to be brave and strong in the rumor mill - when the reality of mortgage payments sets in, they'll quiet down awful quickly.

Maybe MS is trying to ruin Yahoo (1)

AlgorithMan (937244) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282258)

have you thought about this scenario:
MS offered 60% more than what Yahoo was worth, Yahoos stock skyrocketed. The FTC might forbid the deal (for example because of Zimbra vs Exchange) or MS __MIGHT__ drop the offer... this would lead to panic stock-selling which COULD ruin yahoo (one competitor less for MS...)

I don't say this defenitely is the plan, it's just something that crossed my mind, because I don't really understand this extremely high offer

Re:Maybe MS is trying to ruin Yahoo (1)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282864)

MS offered 60% more than what Yahoo was worth, Yahoos stock skyrocketed. The FTC might forbid the deal (for example because of Zimbra vs Exchange) or MS __MIGHT__ drop the offer... this would lead to panic stock-selling which COULD ruin yahoo (one competitor less for MS...)

That's not how stock markets work. You can't ruin a company by offering more and then retracting the offer. The "panic-selling" would bring the stock price back to around where it was before the offer, there's no reason at all for anybody to sell below that price just because the merger isn't happening.

It could "ruin" some investors that bought Yahoo after the offer, but that's about it.

I can see where this is going... (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282284)

I use Yahoo, it's not my favorite search engine, but I have an e-mail address there. I know exactly what m$ would do when they get their hands on Yahoo:
1. Rewrite Yahoo to use Microsoft Silverlight as much as possible
2. Redesign Yahoo Mail to look like this [blogoscoped.com]
3. Convert everyone's existing Yahoo Mail accounts to Windows Live accounts (which would cause lots of problems anyway)
4. Charge extra for using Microsoft Outlook, Evolution, or other mail clients (IMAP access)
5. Limit the space you have to a very small size

Re:I can see where this is going... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283218)

You are aware that:

3) Any email address can be used as a Windows Live ID already?
5) Hotmail accounts default to 5GB now?

Deal shows the Valley is losing (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282326)

Like the DC political Village, the Valley is largely a creation of its own press corps. In buying Yahoo, Microsoft, the perennial outsider has decided to spend the money necessary to grab a real beachhead in northern California, which will, in the long run, allow it to compete directly against the Silicon Valley incumbents for talent. Microsoft's benefits, for instance, make those of any of the big (or small) Valley corporations look like trash, and their salaries are quite competitive.

I'm betting that MS expects that presenting their own services under the Yahoo label will take away the stigma of the Microsoft brand, while making the Yahoo brand more competitive. Since Microsoft's web offerings have a generally superior user interface to those Yahoo presents, that's likely to be true. It's an audacious plan, and it's far from the move of a failing behemoth that's being presented.

Emperor without clothes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282420)

The Yahoo deal will only kill Yahoo and make Microsoft loose more.

Since Windows OS and Office dominance on the desktop and to some degree Windows servers Microsoft does not have any "next big thing".

In fact, it has completely missed to recognize the importance of the Internet. (Bill Gates infamous comment for business leaders in Hungary: "Internet is not a serious thing, it's for college kids.")

Microsoft is the prisoner of it's own "closed" corporate ideology, which is a totally different and incompatible with the shift of paradigm the Internet brought to light.

Microsoft core and money making products (desktop OS, Office apps, mail, file server) has reached a point where there are no revolutionary next big things on the horizon, no excitement and anticipation to upgrade to newer versions. This is going to effect Microsoft revenues more and more seriously, as customers will refuse to pay for newer versions, while their needs are served with the existing and paid for products. Rewriting Vista from scratch for billions of dollars now makes Microsoft look like a fool, since they did not bring anything that makes customers want Vista. The price value of a Vista upgrade from XP is not more than maximum $25 from a customer point of view. Even for that price only geaks would bother, the average computer user is as excited about a new version of Windows as people are excited about their new washing machine. Personal computers for general users are now in the same category as any other household device, they do their things, the less maintenance, headache, the better. No average Joe is marking his calendar for Bill Gate's new keynote speech - they all know already where they want to go today and tomorrow with their laptops, phones, iPods, TVs. Nobody is looking anymore at Bill Gates as the (self-appointed) new Messiah, who will lead the masses to the bright future.

In fact, Microsoft does not have a valid vision for a long time. Microsoft has been trying to catch up with everything they have not even registered on their radar screens until it was way too late: from web-based email, iPod, web search and social networks. Once they learn from the press that those were the 'next big things", Microsoft starts a desperate catch-up: buying Hotmail, developing Zune, they were supposed to make a better search engine that never got the slightest attention of the public, bought part of Facebook and now planning to buy Yahoo.

But MS owned Hotmail and even their corporate Exchange missed the "next big thing" in email, which was brought by Research in Motion and Google's Gmail.
MS developed Zune is no competition to iPod.
MS developed search is not in the same league with Google.
Facebook after MS partial ownership got the advertising "reinvention" all wrong.

Microsoft has been pouring the famous cash reserve into reinventing itself - with very Gizmo results.
Their cash-cow product line is no longer automatic cash-cow. Their new releases are fundamentally driven by financial market expectations, instead of meeting costumer demand. Now even Microsoft-lover CEO's are starting to get the clue.

In the public view, Microsoft is an emperor without clothes - and the view is not sexy at all.
Besides, we all know how these stories end.

Ought to be blocked... (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282436)

MS shouldn't be allowed to do this due to their monopoly status. My fear is that too much focus will be placed on the primary mission of yahoo (trying to compete with Google), and not enough on the incidentals. You can bet MS would dismantle as soon as possible use and development of many open source technologies, such as Zimbra, FreeBSD, and php. Yahoo plays huge roles in those projects, and this deal could significantly impact those projects for the worse.

At the very least, the Zimbra vs. Exchange situation needs a hard look, since yahoo drives that project entirely and productizes it as an Exchange competitor.

Re:Ought to be blocked... (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283326)

Of course it should be blocked. This is the very definition of monopoly abuse: buy all your competitors with that giant stack of money gained from your monopoly, and crush them. Eventually, only you survive, and are richer than God. Given enough time, and no government regulation, you can buy the world.

Surely MS isn't the Ravenous Blugblatter Beast (3, Insightful)

fishthegeek (943099) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282678)

Take one company that isn't being successful at competing with Google.
Add to that, one more company that isn't successful at competing with Google.

What you end up with is one much larger company that isn't able to compete with Google.

I find it truly inconceivable that someone thinks this is a good idea for either company. If Yahoo were truly on the bleeding edge I could actually buy this proposal but Yahoo has been in catch up mode itself. The only thing I believe that this does for MS is provide a much larger market share for Google to take from them.

What about DSL? (2, Interesting)

steltho (1121605) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282776)

If Microsoft ends up buying Yahoo, does that mean I will be a subscriber of AT&T-Microsoft DSL?

I look forward to reading the history here (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282866)

It's hard for people to tell when a turning point has been reached or when one epoch gives way to the next. Usually it's up to the historians to affix a date or determine the significance of an event. Sometimes a turning point is blindingly obvious, a turn for better or worse. The most deceptive turning points are the ones that occur when everything else appears hunky dory. For a non-Microsoft example, when will we mark the fall of the American empire? Historians mark WWI as the beginning of the end of the British empire and WWII as putting the final nails in the coffin. America, growing in power after the first world war, assumed ascendancy after WWII. The Brits could not keep up with the expense of maintaining a modern empire, the return on investment simply was not there. They had to let go of the possessions and become more realistic in their ambition. Looking back, I think historians will say that mismanagement did us in, the same as with the Soviets. Both countries are rich in natural resources and there was no physical need for decline. First, mismanagement squandered American wealth, mismanagement by corporations and by government. With the eye firmly focused on the next quarter, never the next year, little was reinvested into the country. Dependence upon foreign oil for energy and foreign investors to meet runaway public spending meant that the fate of the country was placed in the hands of others, an abdication of sovereignty. The beginning of these trends will probably be placed in the 70's even though the unmistakable collapse might be a year or a decade or more away.

To compare this to Microsoft, their profits are still very high. The quotes I've seen say that Office 2007 is making a lot of money. Microsoft is still kicking ass in one segment of the computer business. The problem, according to those of us who feel they're in trouble, Microsoft isn't doing well in other markets. The 360 is still losing money, Apple and Linux are offering more and more compelling desktop solutions every day, etc. I did a home consult on a dead computer two days ago and the lady of the house was evangelizing about how much she liked her powerbook. Her daughter's machine was the one I was fixing and she said it's replacement will most certainly be some manner of Mac. Her husband is happy with his stinkpad but said he's wanting to look into something other than Vista for his next machine. These are not geeks, these are not opinionated slashdot readers, these views represent Joe Q. Public.

Now I could be completely wrong here, that's a given. But I think that that historians will say that the 2000's were where Microsoft's edge turned into a liability. They had a monopoly for so long, they came to see it as an entitlement rather than something to be earned. Customers formed such a jaded opinion over Microsoft's way of doing things that business decisions ended up becoming personal. The anti-trust case will be used as an example of this, dozens of companies and fevered egos in the computer industry coming together to denounce Microsoft, not just because they had a self-serving interest to bash a hegemon but because their dislike of the company became personal. During the transition between Win98 and XP, only geeks complained about product activation and phoning home, fisher price GUI, etc. The average person loved it, vast improvement over 98. Vista was where Microsoft lost it in the court of public opinion. This will mark a decline, most certainly not a disappearing but more like becoming one vendor among many rather than the lone super-power in the world.

Except ofcourse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282930)

MSFT isn't in the valley

no success outside of Windows OS, no different now (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283046)

outside of being able to leverage their position with the desktop OS, they have lost billions annually on everything else. They are fine with that too, not happy but ok with it since it keeps others in-check. It is the same for this deal with Yahoo since they need to keep Google in-check. They did it with Netscape by forcing MS IE on ISPs and OEMs. They did it to Palm by selling WinCE/PocketPC/PocketMobile/etc at losses in excess of over $10 billion. MSN was an attack on AOLs market position and that too is losing billions and the internet and broadband helped knock AOL down a notch anyways. Xbox was designed to try and box in Sony from being the digitial centerpiece of the living room. Again, losing billions.

But, Microsoft brings in so much profit from the position desktop Windows and MS Office have that they can fund these for a very long time. So this is the same tactic to be used for Google in the MSFT/Yahoo proposal. They need to knock humpty dumpty(Google) off the wall because they feel he is a threat to their market position with him looking so good where he is. And the fact that Google is built and run on Linux technology means that they'll be willing to use a bulldozer full of money to knock that wall down. IMO.

LoB

What? Me worry? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283224)

I don't see what Google has to worry about. If Yahoo and Microsoft lum their customer numbers together (doing nothing else), Google is still way out in front.

If Microsoft's plan is to acquire Yahoo's customer base for assimilation into Microsoft Live services, that can only play out in one direction: Loss of some customers to Google. Yahoo, as it stands today, is pretty much platform neutral. I use it from Linux systems as easily as others do from Windows or OSX. Microsoft technologies haven't given any advantage to their online services, even though statistically most people are using Microsoft platforms. I don't see them benefiting Yahoo to any degree.

IMO, what this might be is an accounting trick to pacify irate shareholders. After years of Microsoft sinking billions into services and having few customers to show for it, for a few dollars more, they can add the Yahoo customer base to their numbers, average out the sunk cost per eyeball and come out smelling (a little) better.

Yahoo is #1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283254)

Why has nobody mentioned that Yahoo is still the #1 site?
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