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Is Microsoft just Screwing with Yahoo's Mind?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the inserting-the-nano-probes dept.

Businesses 209

The Narrative Fallacy writes "This week Cringely offers up a speculative piece asserting that Microsoft might not really care if its bid to buy Yahoo succeeds or not — Bill Gates just wants to disrupt Yahoo and poach the company's employees. 'Microsoft's offer for Yahoo has thrown that company and several others into a tizzy. Yahoo can't be getting much work done, that's for sure ... Redmond's real goal may be simply to poach people from Yahoo, and this deal could help them do just that.' Cringley says there is plenty of precedent for Microsoft's behavior — Microsoft's bids for Borland and for Intuit back in the 1990s sent both companies into a tailspin. 'A failed Microsoft bid, even one involving a termination fee, could lead to horrific results for the company. Remember that Yahoo is staggering here while Intuit was at the top of its market and its game.'"

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Hard to tell what's going on ... (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446578)

but is Microsoft capable of this? I'd say that's a given.

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (5, Insightful)

blowdart (31458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446932)

See it's weird; I thought that the google proposed partnership was a spoiler and a non-serious offer just made to burn up more of Microsoft's warchest by giving Yahoo a plausible reason to drive the price up. And the goggle thing dissolved away very quickly, whereas the Microsoft offer is still on the table.

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446970)

Like I said, it's hard to tell. Beats me what's really going on ... from the outside looking in, Yahoo doesn't really seem like a good match for Microsoft. Personally I think Ballmer is flying higher than a kite, but we'll see.

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446988)

> And the goggle thing dissolved away very quickly

The goggles! They do nothing!

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (5, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447328)

See it's weird; I thought that the google proposed partnership was a spoiler and a non-serious offer just made to burn up more of Microsoft's warchest by giving Yahoo a plausible reason to drive the price up. And the goggle thing dissolved away very quickly, whereas the Microsoft offer is still on the table.
The Google offer dissolved because it wasn't very realistic. But that doesn't prove the Microsoft offer is real.

Personally I suspected Microsoft's offer might be fake pretty early on. I mean, it can't be 100% fake, because if Yahoo! were to immediately agree, then Microsoft would have to go through with it, or lose face (and a lot of it). So there is some degree of truth in the offer. But Ballmer might think that the deal has a 95% chance of not succeeding (due to Yahoo! dismissing it, regulatory issues, etc.), and that in that 95% case he manages to screw Yahoo! up big time.

As for why Microsoft would want to screw with Yahoo!, my reasoning as I explained it to someone the other day is this. First, Microsoft would screw with Google if it could, but it can't use this trick there. So Yahoo! is the target, as follows (numbers are made up here, just to make a point): Say Google has 50% market share, Yahoo! has 30% and Microsoft has 10%. If Yahoo is screwed with, it might lose 10% to drop to 20%. In theory 5% might go to Google, 5% to Microsoft, giving us Google 55%, Yahoo! 20%, Microsoft 15%. Note that this helps Google at the same time as it helps Microsoft, but in simple terms, Microsoft has gained 50% market share (10% to 15%). From there Microsoft is at a better vantage point to challenge Google. Or, in other terms: First Microsoft fought with 80% of the market; now it fights with 75% of the market.

Another way to see it is that Microsoft wants to be #2 instead of #3. Any playing fairly always takes more time.

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (3, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447030)

but is Microsoft capable of this? I'd say that's a given.

Maybe, maybe not. However I'm sick and tired of the Microsoft conspiracy nutbars who trot out evil reasons for everything Microsoft do.

Ok, perhaps it is true, but if Microsoft were investing so much time and energy being evil in every move they make, don't you think they wouldn't be the #1 company in the field? (profits wise). I'd have thought they'd have slipped a while back.

And no, they haven't slipped. Point out the failure of the Xbox to turn a buck if you will, or other small change projects. Those are strategic exercises that may well turn south, but they will not 'bring down Microsoft'. Right now no-one comes close to them in terms of overall power and money.

And that Netscape thing? Even the Netscape CEO admitted that Microsoft were only doing what other companies did at the time. Incidentally, he ended up a billionaire, and most Netscape employees became millionaires. I have trouble equating that with a poor downtrodden company being hounded out of business, seems to me they did ok.

I get annoyed by a lot of what Microsoft do, but that's because I'm not into their philosophy, not because I think their running around in the shadows constantly. I'm more likely to get annoyed about their implementation of C++ then their latest business dealings.

And you know what? IBM used to be right evil buggers, and it cost them their lead in a big way, too much time spent hurting the competition, not enough time minding the shop. Now everyone loves them, 'ooh, but they love open source' is trotted out in defence against any slight. They were real gits back a few decades ago. /rant

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (2, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447302)

Ok, perhaps it is true, but if Microsoft were investing so much time and energy being evil in every move they make, don't you think they wouldn't be the #1 company in the field? (profits wise). I'd have thought they'd have slipped a while back.

Err, no. All of the the above would make sense if it were true that being evil is bad for business. Alas, the reason companies usually behave in an evil manner is because it helps them financially. You can't point to financial success as evidence they're not evil. It doesn't necessarily prove they are, either, despite popular perception. Classically, though, the temptation to do evil is almost always because you do better materially when you do, so your contention above flies in the face of classical reasoning on the subject.

IBM used to be right evil buggers, and it cost them their lead in a big way

IBM's evil is was sustained it as long as it did. It was IBM's arrogance that brought them down.

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (0)

SunTzuWarmaster (930093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447396)

"Evil will always will because Good is dumb"
  - Spaceballs

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447536)

"Slashdot posters will always use quotes and get them wrong because they feel they are too good to look them up"
- Anonymous coward

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (4, Interesting)

SL Baur (19540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447932)

Point out the failure of the Xbox to turn a buck if you will,
Maybe it didn't, but you are right - it was huge strategic victory. More than ever, console games and Microsoft Windows are linked. The last time I went to a GameStop I asked for games playable on Macintosh. The salesman immediately said there weren't any. I pointed behind him at the display case with World of Warcraft and told him he was wrong and he said he didn't know it could be played on Macintosh.

Go Blizzard! They not only run on Macintosh, they run on Linux with Wine too.

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (1)

kae77 (1006997) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447314)

Sure doesn't help Microsoft's perception of a corporate bully.

Re:Hard to tell what's going on ... (1)

rdean400 (322321) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447844)

Honestly, I don't know if they're capable of it. "Web 2.0" is characterized by disruptive innovations, and Microsoft's bureaucracy acts against the agility needed to accomplish that.

If you look at their recent product releases, you'll see a lot of reinventing wheels. Disruptive innovation is characterized by new inventions or new combinations of ideas. They don't have that.

Treading Water (4, Insightful)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446608)

Yahoo is treading water. Microsoft is treading water. Neither company has innovated to grow new business for the last 5+ years. Meanwhile, Google has created growth. It has built and grown a large, growing advertising business. Now Microsoft has a paw on Yahoo, treading water next to it.

Re:Treading Water (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446694)

"Microsoft is treading water."

That is the trouble right there with discussing Microsoft. You really can't have a serious discussion of the company because there a million Microsoft fans who will flip out and point out that a company that Microsoft has/makes 'billions' and that is 'like an infinite amount of money'.

Re:Treading Water (2, Informative)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446862)

Well, if it really hurts you that much that people point out the truth to groupthinkers, than its sad.

otherwise, just to give you a hint "record quarter".

(Sorry, this kind of fud just doesnt work against microsoft. you really have to actually _do_ something if you want to change the status quo)

Re:Treading Water (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446702)

That's a fact and I'd add more to this by saying that Microsoft is "leadership" and "vision" poor. They are not likely to be short on talented or skilled people. The reality is the decisions and priorities that Microsoft is following are what's leading to its hardships at the moment. They had defined "computing" as we had known it for around 10 straight years but that position has slipped quite a bit and pretty much everyone is doubting Microsoft's vision and wisdom in the industry -- even the end users -- and it would seem Microsoft has yet to realize that they no longer truly wield the power over people's minds that they once had. (Or perhaps they are realizing it and are attempting to compensate in other [failing] ways?)

Once upon a time, Microsoft made cool stuff and people bought it... a lot of it. Then, for some reason, marketers took control of the company instead of the creative people and now people are wondering why Microsoft is failing.

It's LEADERSHIP and lack of vision that is dooming this once incredibly influential company. Attempting to poach employees from Yahoo, an equally if not more stagnant company, isn't going to anything but rearrange the deck chairs on their Titanic.

Re:Treading Water (5, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446856)

Once upon a time, Microsoft made cool stuff and people bought it... a lot of it. Then, for some reason, marketers took control of the company instead of the creative people and now people are wondering why Microsoft is failing.


No, once MS, Bought cool stuff from other companies, rebranded it and made deals with OEMs so people would use it. Just about EVERY thing MS has done has been bought by other companies. If it wasn't for getting lucky with DOS (which they bought from someone else) and IBM they would not be existing right now. All MS survived on is luck and buying companies that do innovate. Now that they managed to monopolize all the OS industry, they have just left the community projects like Linux that can't be bought and Apple which would be highly unwilling to be bought. Everything MS has done was by money, even though they have good coders, all MS has done is buy and buy and now they have scared all the competition from even trying, they have nothing left to buy and are now stagnant. Yahoo innovated slightly but I still think it represents the early '90s on the Web whereas Google represents the present age.

Re:Treading Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447156)

>Just about EVERY thing MS has done has been bought by other companies

Not insightful.

Microsoft didn't buy Windows, didn't buy Office,
didn't buy Visual Basic, didn't buy, etc.

You're still talking about DOS? Freaking DOS!? Jesus, move on man. They bought something to start DOS with, and then improved on it.
Just like Apple bought NeXT, the jukebox that became iTunes, Final Cult pro (from macromedia), all the iLife apps, etc.

Re:Treading Water (-1, Redundant)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447188)

>> No, once MS, Bought cool stuff from other companies

Who did they buy MS BASIC from, that many of us grew up using on our C=64s?

Re:Treading Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447220)

Right... since google doesnt do the same thing huh? :rolleyes: How much has Google bought recently?

Re:Treading Water (4, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447244)

Purchasing smaller companies that produce products you want to incorporate into your business is standard industry practice...

Re:Treading Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447316)

too bad for ms that there aren't small companies that produce product they want.

Re:Treading Water (2, Interesting)

andruk (1132557) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447582)

This is true, but I think the parent meant that the idea that Microsoft has innovated a lot is bullshit. Microsoft has rarely innovated, and while it may be standard practice, if the only thing that can do is buy other companies to look like they are visionaries, then that a fairly thin smoke screen to hide behind. Now that fewer companies are trying to innovate, Microsoft is simply stuck, leaving their marketers to create the next-big-thing (tm), Vista. As far as I know, the only thing Microsoft has done is stuff like the beginnings of AJAX (somebody please prove me wrong) and the XBOX (which was nice, but nothing more than the PS2 or Gamec...PS2). AJAX was fairly fundamental to the whole "Web 2.0" buzzword thing, but the XBOX really was nothing new.

At this point, the only thing Microsoft has gong for them is marketing, existing mindshare, "intellectual property", vendor lock-in, and proprietary protocols/formats. Except now that the Samba team has the documentation for Samba, it's just a matter of time before other operating systems (read: Linux/Ubuntu) start interoperating with Windows. OpenOffice.org is starting to read and write .doc's fairly well, and OpenOffice.org's price tag is low enough (snicker) to compete with Microsoft Office using a crappier GUI. This is why they are pushing OOXML so hard, because if they don't, that's yet another club that Microsoft cannot use against other vendors.

Back to the point, while it may be standard industry practice (please note that I am not refuting that claim), Microsoft's marketers are having a more difficult time preaching to the world about the innovations of Microsoft, simply because people are older and wiser than in the '90's.

Re:Treading Water (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447464)

Google represents the current age? What exactly has google done that is innovative aside from adsense? Search was already done, it was just an incremental improvement. And then they did what you say Microsoft did, they purchased. They bought maps, blogging sites, on-line office suites. Googles products are driven by acquisition and not innovation.

Re:Treading Water (2, Insightful)

bigpicture (939772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447470)

I believe you have framed the actual situation very accurately here. The MS leadership didn't actually have a lot of vision, they just bought up cool stuff companies who seemed to be succeeding in the marketplace.

Re:Treading Water (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447588)

All MS survived on is luck and buying companies that do innovate.
Yeah! Whereas Google and Yahoo!... oh wait.

"defined computing"? I don't theeenk so! (1)

toby (759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447542)

"Defined crappy computing" - now that's accurate.

Re:Treading Water (4, Informative)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446748)

Microsoft's year over year growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was 26%. Their quarterly revenues were nearly equal to Google's entire financial year. Such growth can hardly be termed as "treading water", despite their lack of innovation.

Re:Treading Water (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446810)

"Their quarterly revenues were nearly equal to Google's entire financial year. Such growth can hardly be termed as "treading water", despite their lack of innovation."

Can you please stop being an idiot? Does every Microsoft discussion need to have the same idiotic indignant replies.

Get it through your pee brains that the fundementals of stock valuation don't change or go away simply because the numbers are "really big" or "bigger than something impressive".

Re:Treading Water (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446888)

"Treading water" implies little or no growth. MS continues to grow at an impressive clip. Growth rates are of course relative, not absolute, contrary to what your comment implied (26% quarterly growth is outstanding no matter how big your company is). So, care to enlighten me and everyone else here with your stock valuation "fundementals [sic]", brainiac?

Re:Treading Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446990)

"MS continues to grow at an impressive clip."

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=MSFT&t=my&l=on&z=m&q=l&c= [yahoo.com]

The stock has been effectively flat for eight years. You don't get any more fundamental than that. And what is even more damning is that flat stock price includes part of the 40 billion dollar buyback program Microsoft is going through to prop up the stock.

I honestly don't see how anyone could be clueless enough to label Microsoft's growth 'impressive'.

Re:Treading Water (3, Insightful)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447144)

Actually, it's flat because MS is transitioning from being a pure growth stock to a blue chip stock, complete with dividend payouts, which are still too small. Successful blue chips generate huge profits and sustain predictable growth year over year, but their stock prices aren't particularly volatile. MS is not paying large enough dividends, causing the stock to flatline (this may have changed recently, as I'm not up to date with their latest actions).

MS is no longer like a Google-style volatile growth stock. It's more like investing in Johnson and Johnson or something. They need to increase their dividend payouts, if they haven't already.

Re:Treading Water (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447430)

LOL, stupid human nature and the need to save face.

So, yes, as you were corrected Microsoft does not 'continue to grow at an impressive clip'. Microsoft stopped their 'impressive clip' some eight years ago.

Was that so hard? Did you really need to fly off trying to make it look like you didn't make a silly and obviously false claim?

Grow the fuck up guy.

Re:Treading Water (2, Informative)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447608)

What? MS posted 26% growth, as I said. That is impressive. You are conflating revenue growth with stock price, which is wrong. Their stock price is related, instead, to their rates of dividend payouts, which increase as profit increases. The stock becomes more attractive as dividend payouts increase, thus more people buy it, thus the price goes up. That's why MS needs to increase dividend payouts. This is known as "value investing". Since you don't seem to understand what I'm talking about, I'll let you Google it.

I'm not the one who needs to grow up here, kid. You obviously hold some kind of a misguided grudge against an entire corporation - "stupid human nature" indeed.

Re:Treading Water (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447354)

Go back to playing WoW and stop trying to be an amateur economist. A stock price moves primarily when expectations of future earnings change. That Microsoft's stock has been flat for so long is indicative of the fact that this rate of continual growth was priced into the stock long ago. They've been executing consistently for a long long time.

You are right in suggesting that new products have not caused that growth rate to accelerate beyond expectations (until recently). But when your earnings grow by a Google every year, it's pretty damn hard to turn the corner yet again.

Re:Treading Water (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446890)

"Get it through your pee brains that the fundementals of stock valuation don't change or go away simply because the numbers are "really big" or "bigger than something impressive"."

Mind saying what are the fundementals then? Last time I having good quarterly growth and revenue = valuable stock. What exactly is the magical element that Microsoft is missing when it comes to their stock valuation? Before you answer it should be noted that the total value of MSFT (volume*price) is pretty close to GOOG, so while MSFT is trading at $28 and GOOG at $500 there's a lot more MSFT.

Re:Treading Water (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446886)

Microsoft's year over year growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was 26%. Their quarterly revenues were nearly equal to Google's entire financial year. Such growth can hardly be termed as "treading water", despite their lack of innovation.


How many of that "growth" is in OEM versions if Windows? I'd guess alot, MS could easily have them buy in bulk (such as licenses by the thousands) and give a slight discount and make it seem like MS is alive while that may be the only OEM money they get for the first half of Vista's life. No, MS is going down and even though they can make the numbers say whatever they want the fact is, people perception of MS is different, no longer does OS need to equil Windows with Mac and Linux being just as if not more usable then Vista and unless MS can come out with Windows 7 by 2010, I would say that MS is sinking like the Titanic.

Re:Treading Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447054)

In the long term, it can. A lack of innovation may not necessarily hurt your bottom line right now, but in the long run, it's going to come back and bite you in the ass.

Seriously. Recall the joke about the guy who falls off of a skyscraper and tells himself "everything's been going fine so far" at each floor he passes? Like him, Microsoft may be in for a rude awakening if they really think they can survive forever without innovation.

Re:Treading Water (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447066)

Oh, I fully agree - I was just responding to the original post regarding the "treading water" comment. MS and Yahoo aren't really comparable in terms of relative growth.

Re:Treading Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447332)

I have to dispute this point a bit. Microsoft, from day one, has been anything but truly innovative. BASIC? Not theirs. DOS? Bought. Windows? Controversal for being a platform of theft by Microsoft, in the early years from Apple. (Though I think Apple was more in the wrong in that case, thinking they can control GUIs like that, Macintosh and Lisa notwithstanding.) C#? How many more C derivatives do we really need? Office? Please, like Microsoft invented the word processor, spreadsheets, presentation software, and databases. Shared Source? Microsoft trying to fool idiots into thinking they are also open source. Internet Explorer? Mosaic from Spyglass, one of the many classic examples of Microsoft stabbing its partners in the back. NT? VMS-inspired operating system that was originally going to be a new version of OS/2. The other classic example of back-stabbing on the part of Microsoft.

For their ~ 30 years of existence, Microsoft has either bought out their "innovations" or outright stole them. Look at Vista right now! How much of Vista was copied straight from Mac OS X or even Linux? And now they're still trying to buy Yahoo! simply because their web services just aren't cutting it anymore. (Live Search? MSN? Give me a fucking break.) I think anyone with half a brain stem sees this is Microsoft trying to cope with the fact that Google is thrashing them on the Web right now, which is probably due to the fact Microsoft was VERY late to the Internet and made the world's most insecure web browser, one *so* horribly bad the US government is begging users NOT to use the damn thing!

Then there's the fact that Microsoft moved too much like a dinosaur. Internet Explorer 7 took way too fucking long, and I think they even upgraded to IE7 simply because Firefx and Opera were both starting to get popular. And Vista, dear god, Vista. Took them how long to release it and they had how long to work on it and it was *still* a piece of utter and inane shit? Worse than ME, even, if you can imagine!

At what point did Microsoft ever "innovate?" They never did, and yet they lasted on the long term and secured themselves a proven monopoly they're fighting like all hell to preserve. I don't think Microsoft deserves any defense for churning out garbage and forcing most of the market to eat it.

Re:Treading Water (1)

Squirmy McPhee (856939) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447738)

Microsoft's year over year growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was 26%.

Whether or not that's "treading water" depends a bit on how you define "treading water." It's been awhile since I checked, but as I recall that's a pretty average growth rate for Microsoft's industry. From an investor's point of view, that could certainly be seen as treading water (depending, of course, on the company's other financial indicators).

Their quarterly revenues were nearly equal to Google's entire financial year. Such growth can hardly be termed as "treading water", despite their lack of innovation.

Now that just doesn't make sense. By that criterion, GM is doing really well -- after all, it posted quarterly revenues nearly equal to Microsoft's entire annual earnings last year. GM also posted a net loss of $38 billion, though, which can hardly be called healthy. Revenues alone tell you virtually nothing about whether a company is "treading water."

Re:Treading Water (1)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447840)

Not to mention that if buying your innovation is the definition of treading water, then Google's pretty much the champ. They haven't done an original thing since PageRank. Google makes its fortune the same way Apple and Sony do: it takes ideas that other people made at modest quality, polishes the hell out of them, then pretends it invented the market.

Go on, just try to find one Google technology in the last eight years that has a drop of originality to it.

It's the geek who is out over his head (4, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447258)

Microsoft is treading water.

Perhaps you can't forgive the pun. But...

There seems to be nothing that can pull the Geek out of denial.

Microsoft posted breathtaking results in its first and second quarters. 15-20% growth in Windows. In Office. In servers. In home entertainment.

That kind of growth isn't fueled by massive "upgrades" to Win XP.

67 cents of every new retail dollar spent on PC software goes to Microsoft Office.

Microsoft gambled on "the ribbon" and won.

For the quarter, Microsoft sales increased 30 percent in emerging markets, 20 percent in established markets like Europe and 15 percent in the United States. Microsoft has become very well insulated from a recession in the states.

Online services are still posting a loss, but ad revenues are up damn near 40% from fiscal 2007 to $623 million.

There are 427 million Windows Live IDs.

Which suggests that estimates of one billion Windows users world-wide are on the money.

Microsoft has been paying dividends, buying back stock. It holds $20 billion in liquid reserves and doesn't owe a dime to anyone.

Microsoft Q2 2008 By The Numbers [microsoft-watch.com]

Not really accurate (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447384)

MS and YAHOO and complete different services than google.

Google is a fiscal service for advertisers with free user services to get viewers to the add content.

MS and Yahoo are user services that use advertising since they already have the users there. The motivation is cleary and entirely different between these companies. Google is all ads, MS wants you on their platform and subscriptions with some ads on the side. Yahoo must have a mountain of email accounts that perhaps MS wants to eat up in order to integrate them with the new MS email/office combination.

I must say, google and the rest of the world are slacking on getting onlnie apps out. At this rate MS is going to eat them alive and google is going to have some shitty plain Ajax wordprocessor to pretend to be competative against Word online.

MS having ported to .NET is positioning themselves to go all out, all online, even all crossplatform if they have to. They've basically aligned the entire Win32 development army to produce the most portable rapid developemnt environment around.

Who cares about Vista, the right move was .NET. It's taken awhile and too many version and code changes, but they will have the most awesome integrated framework for making any apps. I think you'll see that more and more with online apps and web pages. The fact is, the non MS development community has dropped the ball on a full featured devlopment suite such as .Net and the power and support it has and they are going to pay in yet another decade of MS rule.

It's funny because of all the platforms, MS needs development tools the least, because they have the most, yet they know where their strength is and have expanded their lead their.

The difference is that Yahoo and MS are sustainable, and Google is reliant on ad revene. Though, you could say Yahoo isn't all that susnstainable in the long run, but google is BY FAR not sustainable.

As soon as ad spending goes down, so does Google's revenue with it.
Google's is a more opportunistic model and the only reason it's good is because it's realiable. Yahoo and MS have unclear reasons for doing things while Google's reasoning is pretty much always fiscal based. You can bet on Google to piling up services to draw more revenue and you can count on them to stick with that same basic strategy.

Google is being more and more exploited everyday and in time it's highly unlikely it can keep it's good reputation and without a doubt it's search results aren't as good as they used to be.

Google's business model is unsustainable because it relies on completely immoral ad revenue. No matter how good the serice, in time, the force of profitablity will erode google because the HEART of google is generating money through ads. That's just a very shaky place to draw the majority of your revenue. Look what happened to TV, the news. These services started out with a much more individualistic and unbaised position and over time as profitability proved more powerful than morality these servies lost integrity.

Google, at it's current rate, will do the same and the plethora of rip off artists using it are a sign of this.

You're probably not going to be able to rely on one search engine in the long term any more than you can rely on one news source to provide you the truth.

Perhaps MS just want to buy Yahoo's user base, statistics, logs and such from them.

MS might also be suspecting the fall of Yahoo and trying to buy the equity of the company at a relative loss to yahoo and gain to MS.
I certainly don't see that it's worth 45 billion though, since yahoo is the new lycos.

Yahoo will die on their own because like so many web services, they forgot to make money. Perhaps yahoo has patents on online apps that MS wants also since they will be going full force with office online soon.

I think whoever buys yahoo is bound to take a loss on the investment, so with that in mind News Corp can have them. Yahoo had the edge, lost it, and failed to innovate. Yahoo answers is about the only new buzz they have going on.

Re:Treading Water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447548)

Parent talks like Nice Pete. It freaks me out. I put the parent poster's body in my van. And I am the winner.

http://achewood.com/index.php?date=04092003 [achewood.com]

Really? REALLY? (1)

HackNack (853020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446612)

Has Cringely FINALLY gotten something right?

Re:Really? REALLY? (1)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447246)

8-ball says: Ask again later.

Just kidding: No.

Since when was business in the USA... (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446614)

anything like fair?
Sure, all MS has to do is either make their products better than anyone else's or scare everyone from investing in a competitor's business and products. Either one will result in Microsoft's favor.

Business-wise, since Google isn't going to suddenly lose market-share it is necessary to gain market share, either by purchasing it, or causing your own product to gain market share.

Some very large corporations in North America have been found guilty of this same type of practice. With all the MS bashing on /. this should come as no surprise AT ALL.

Whether they actually buy Yahoo or not, MS wins in the business side.

Sure, to the average joe it is hard to see the win, but if Yahoo loses revenues MS will begin to take them (what Google doesn't get anyway). In the business of becoming the largest in your field of endeavor having better products/services than your competition is only marginally more important (if at all) than your competitor being worse than you at the game of business. We all know that MS is very successful at business, not so much so at creating innovative products and services.

Re:Since when was business in the USA... (4, Interesting)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446908)

Sure, to the average joe it is hard to see the win, but if Yahoo loses revenues MS will begin to take them (what Google doesn't get anyway). In the business of becoming the largest in your field of endeavor having better products/services than your competition is only marginally more important (if at all) than your competitor being worse than you at the game of business.


I know a lot of people who use Google as their primary search engine, I know lots of people who use Yahoo for searching and mail, I even know people who prefer to use Ask. Even still there are some who use some hijacked browser page to search. However I have not met one person who really uses Live/MSN to search. I don't think for most people Yahoo is going away soon, most have mail accounts there and of course will use it to check their mail, and unless MS's search engine has new and different features then Yahoo and Google I doubt they will gain marketshare. For most people, they choose search engines from convience not features and Google and Yahoo are rooted in their minds and browser's homepage more then MSN/Live.

Re:Since when was business in the USA... (2, Informative)

Hucko (998827) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447128)

Australians. If they aren't using Google, they seem to use Msn via ninemsn. Nine is one of our Big4 free to air channels who did some dodgy deal with Microsoft way back. As far as I know we only have five national f.t.a.

Re:Since when was business in the USA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447852)

Figures. Not only are you upside-down, but you're also backwards.

Who (1)

bvimo (780026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446616)

Who are Intuit?

Re:Who (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446644)

Who are Intuit?
A small tribe near the Arctic Circle.

Re:Who (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446658)

The QuickBooks guys. But ten seconds of Google could have told you that.

Re:Who (1)

Cigarra (652458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447392)

Or, less politely... [fuckinggoogleit.com]

Re:Who (2, Funny)

Warll (1211492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447398)

Odd, according to Google it only took 0.12 seconds.

Results 1 - 10 of about 12,000,000 for Intuit [definition]. (0.12 seconds)

Re:Who (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447284)

Yeah I'm Intuit. (though not like some people)
But that girl Amy, I heard she's really Intuit.

I wish MSFT would screw with me, like that. (1, Troll)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446620)

I'm pretty sure I could stay focused on my tasks at hand just fine, especially if some idiotic behemoth came in and made an offer that caused the market to instantly re-evaluate all my stock and options at a significantly higher price.

The idea that Yahoo is going to be bewildered and knocked astray by this is absurd. But that said, consider the source. He's a twit who makes his living by purposefully trolling people into discussions. He's not a serious analyst, nor does he offer any interesting insight.

It's a shame slashdot got trolled again. You'd think people would learn to stop linking to the tard, but time and time again he makes front page. Pathetic.

Re:I wish MSFT would screw with me, like that. (3, Insightful)

mritunjai (518932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446756)

Please keep in mind that stock price inflation is due to "premium" put up MS and speculators have driven up the price which *would* fall down if the deal doesn't go through.

I'd expect a lot of speculators to actually short the stock.

All in all, for a serious business, it's *not* a good thing to be in this situation. Even in best case it'd rock the boat and cause heart-burns and unrest whether the deal goes through or not.

Stock price (5, Interesting)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446642)

Didn't Yahoo's stock price go up from this, while the price of MSFT stock went down? Isn't Microsoft doing more harm to themselves?

Besides, I thought Balmer was in charge now. What's with all this talk about Bill?

Re:Stock price (1, Informative)

Mex (191941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446876)

Why are you even posting about something that is easily searchable? Is this not slashdot?

http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=YHOO [yahoo.com]

Yahoo has gone down a bit since the announcement.

Re:Stock price (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447942)

So I went and looked. Microsoft closed at $28.42 per share on 2/15, down from its 52 week high of 37.50 on 12/25. Yahoo closed at 29.66. A share of Yahoo had more value than a share of Microsoft, yesterday, at the end of the day. Microsoft, though it was up on Wednesday, gave back most of the increase to end the week essentially flat. Yahoo was down for the week.

So, back to the original question, looking at how much market cap Microsoft has lost, despite the announcement of great quarterly results at the end of January, isn't this pursuit of Yahoo, so far, hurting Microsoft shareholders?

Re:Stock price (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447438)

It's natural for the stock price of a company to rise when an offer to purchase is put forward. You'll notice that as soon as it happened, the stock price rose to just under what the offer was. This is because investors with lots of $ are buying a lot just under the offer price and are hoping Microsoft's bid gets accepted.

A few days after the offer, the stock price of Yahoo! went above the offer price. Again, this was based on speculation by the investors that MS might increase their bid.

A similar thing happened when the minority shares of Shell Canada Limited (on the Toronto Stock Exchange - TSX) was bought out by Royal Dutch Shell.

You Know You're In Trouble When... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446668)

You know your business plan is in trouble when columnists start making 'this plan is so crazy it might just work' type articles.

this FP for GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446678)

Why do you persist in linking to Cringley? (0, Flamebait)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446692)

Seriously. The guy talks out his ass so much he'd be more profitably employed as a ventriloquist.

Yes more rampant speculation! (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446698)

It appears to me that MS is serious. It may have been a planned side benefit that Yahoo is distracted if the buyout does not happen. Unfortunately MS is also distracted. I mean how many MS employees started looking for new jobs when this was announced? There was also a shakeup in leadership last week too so MS is not clearly focused either.

secondary, not primary goal (4, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446712)

TFA is being hyperbolic to claim that the purchase bid "alone has some value for Microsoft." Not quite. We're definitely in "a little bit of both" territory here

MS was serious about its announcement about buying yahoo. If yahoo had been openly amenable to the idea, then the deal would be moving forward right now.

The secondary effect (since yahoo was NOT amenable) was to destabilize yahoo, who is a competitor.

So, MS did a cost/benefit actuarial analysis and found that if they bought yahoo for a certain price, then they would benefit. Yahoo doesn't want to sell, but MS still gains b/c of the uncertainty that the bid caused. It was a win/win situation for them. This is how big business works.

 

Why its not a repeat of Intuit or Borland ... (5, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446714)

Remember that Yahoo is staggering here while Intuit was at the top of its market and its game.'

Being at the "top of its market" is a liability - it forces you to look beyond your core business in hopes of continuing to expand. This is what happened to Borland - at one point, Borland owned the programming languagess market, with a 66% market share - more than Microsoft and everyone else combined. Then they went nuts. "Desktop / Professional / Enterprise" versions of compilers were one fo the first signs that rot was setting in. So was the buying and selling of WordPerfect and dBase. The dBase acquisition made sense - it let them compete directly with CA-Clipper. Dumping it later on didn't.

Apple didn't get smart until it had it' near-death experience.

So if Yahoo! isn't at the "top of their game" they can afford to concentrate on what they're doing. Microsoft, on the other hand, has nowhere to go bud down - their #1 competitor is themselves (see Vista vs. XP as a good example).

Re:Why its not a repeat of Intuit or Borland ... (1)

Main Gauche (881147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446814)

"Being at the "top of its market" is a liability...Microsoft, on the other hand, has nowhere to go but down"

That's why I never want to be the world's wealthiest person. My rank could only get worse from there!

Re:Why its not a repeat of Intuit or Borland ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446902)

"Being at the "top of its market" is a liability...Microsoft, on the other hand, has nowhere to go but down"
That's why I never want to be the world's wealthiest person. My rank could only get worse from there!

Gates is now #3 http://www.stockmarketsview.com/mukesh-ambani-becomes-worlds-richest-man/22/ [stockmarketsview.com]

Re:Why its not a repeat of Intuit or Borland ... (5, Informative)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447706)

. This is what happened to Borland - at one point, Borland owned the programming languagess market, with a 66% market share - more than Microsoft and everyone else combined. Then they went nuts. "Desktop / Professional / Enterprise" versions of compilers were one fo the first signs that rot was setting in. So was the buying and selling of WordPerfect and dBase. The dBase acquisition made sense - it let them compete directly with CA-Clipper. Dumping it later on didn't.

Borland's demise began on two very distinct and different fronts. The cause of one of them rests squarely on their shoulders, the second was pure MS evil.

1. Borland deciding to get into the applications market was the most supremely stupid move it ever made. Paradox with its obscure and somewhat strange "Answer Table" model broke down on large data sets and was generally to strange for a lot of people to deal with. Other then that it was a pretty good database. It's main competition at the time were two dBase from Ashton-Tate and DataEase. dBase had a great language but had a pretty low end database engine. Indexes were not dynamic, and if you packed a datafile, you were in re-index hell. DataEase had a built in screen builder, a sreaming fast databse engine, a very SQL like language, a report writer that was pretty damn nice, easy to use and would crank out reports like mad. Unfortunately they bet everything on OS/2 and Presentation Manager because at the time that was where the MS/IBM strategy was heading, then MS pulled the plug and well the rest as they say is history.

Quatro was an insanely wonderful spreadsheet product that was eating both Lotus's and Excel's lunch. It had a native GUI mode, perfect WYSIWYG and was lighting fast. It could handle multiple large spreadsheets, linking, all the fun stuff we enjoy today, and then Jim Manzy, that fuckwad from Lotus Development decided that the only way he could stave off the Quatro juggernaut was to go to court. The infamous look and feel lawsuit that came within a breath of putting Borland out of business. The filed suit in Boston and it looked like Borland was done for, then in the end Borland prevailed, but not until it had spent almost everything defending the suit. To this day I still want to find Jim Manzy in a dark alley and have a chat with him,

2. So anyone remember OWL??? The Object Windows Library? Pretty much up until then if you wanted to write windows programs you had to deal with the bare Windows API. If you had ever used it you knew it was a miserable experience. Many of the calls were very difficult to deal with, at best, and you had to re-invent a lot of things just to make your software work, Borland realized this and did something that changed windows development forever. They took the windows API and wrapped up in a very neat, clean, object based interface. Suddenly writing windows programs became some that was no longer am arcane bith of magic, and pure dumb luck. Microsoft, instead of going WOW, this company is driving TONS of programmers to windows they decided to counter with MFC and of course they really shit the bed. The first versions of MFC were simply awful, bordering on unusable, hell no one at SM would even use them. Meanwhile Borland kept refining OWL, they even had a CUI counterpart called turbo-vision, now called FreeVision as it was open sourced. OWL was being adopted by everyone and their grandmother. Borlands Language products were being used to drive windows development. The integrated IDE, all that stuff you take for granted today was ALL Borland. Up until this time Borland had licensed all the right bits from MS to handle things like integrated debugging, software profiling, really cool stuff within windows and they were flying high. Turbo C, Turbo C++, Turbo Pascal for windows were just climbing the charts. The reviews were rave and Borland was making money hand over fist and developers, for probably the first time ever, had really GREAT integrated tools to create great programs!

Then the Dark Side of Bill Gates really started to come out. They told Borland, if you do not license and distribute MFC and stop developing OWL, we will stop licensing all the stuff you need from us to create the products you create. That was the beginning of the end for Borland as a language company. They had no choice but to do as MS said, well I guess they could have gone out of business. After that MS continued to develop MFC but strangely MS's language products always got to market 1st with the latest versions of MFC, and the competitors did not get their versions that were "authorized for release" until months later. The only thing that saved Borland, was Delphi. Delphi did what no one had done before, they gave the word a fully integrated development environment that really screamed. If was fast, you could sit down and write a windows application in the matter of a few days and be ready to publish it. Better yet the no runtime libraries required, the source for their RTL was included, you could modify it to suite your needs. It made VB look like the Piece of Shit that it was.

So what does MS do then? They go back to the old trick of "We cant compete with their products, so lets just start hijacking their engineers". MS had the money so they just started writing VERY big checks to Borland's best and brightest. And the rest as they say is history.

Re:Why its not a repeat of Intuit or Borland ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447882)

Yep, its sad to remember how much FUN using Borland's stuff was. I was given turbo C (complete with install disks and manuals) to write an app, and the rest was history. Years later, I bought BCC 3.1, which was just an amazing product, picked up TurboVision with Turbo Pascal 7 when I had to modify some pascal code on another project, etc.

Instead of using OWL, I wrote a few classes that encapsulated windows, menus, etc. - it wasn't that hard. And when Delphi came out, it was a total winner product.

I still think they mishandled the marketing of dBase. Sure, they managed to get the mouse working, and combined it with the TurboVision libraries, but then they let it wilt after version 5. And they didn't bundle the runtime "compiler" - another mistake. So people stuck with Clipper, and when CA came out with DB-Fast, people bought it instead of Borlands' dBase for Windows.

And then there was the cluster**** known as Kylix. I would have happily paid a grand or two for a decent *real* "Delphi / C++ Builder" for linux, instead of that unusable POS. I'm sure I wasn't alone.

Google (5, Interesting)

Zayin (91850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446720)

"Redmond's real goal may be simply to poach people from Yahoo, and this deal could help them do just that.'"

I think not. It's more likely that Google would do so, I expect that their recruiters are quite busy calling Yahoo employees at the moment. If this is Microsoft's goal they've just aimed a double-barreled shotgun at their feet and pulled the trigger. They just gave their no. 1 competitor a huge opportunity. Where would you, as a brilliant Yahoo employee, work next? Google or Microsoft?

Re:Google (2, Interesting)

bonkeroo buzzeye (711311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447170)

Microsoft - for many employees who decide they'd be a very small extraneous fish in a very large pond at Google or the cavalry to the rescue at Microsoft. At Google, everyone higher up would be better than them; nowhere to go. At Microsoft, obviously no one knows anything about search or the web - nowhere to go but up.

There are a million arguments against this viewpoint and I'm not sure I'd want to hire anyone who adopted it but some people would see it that way and they'd apparently be Microsoft's kind of people.

Basically, MS has no mindshare or momentum at all, as far as I can see. Making a few key acquisitions (individual people or entire companies), rolling out any marginally successful product, *getting talked about in the media*, doing *anything* towards getting to at least #2 first, will make becoming #1 easier than just being stuck in the mire.

But I will grant that it had earlier occurred to me that some of the best Yahoo people, faced with a disrupted Yahoo or working at MS, would jump to Google, as you say. I just don't think it's quite the slamdunk it might seem.

Re:Google (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447908)

Exactly. Why would you move to another part of the company to a company with a flat stock when you can work for another company within commute distance with better perks and a rising stock?

Yahoo employees are likely used to their free lattes and their free gym. There's another company that offers those sorts of benefits, and it ain't Microsoft.

Fixes (0, Troll)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446722)

If only Microsoft found so much energy and effort to fix it's own products first!

Re:Fixes (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446794)

If only Microsoft found so much energy and effort to fix it's own products first!

You mean Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt aren't Microsofts' 3 main products?

With SCO possibly going private, welcome to FUD 3.11.

Re:welcome to FUD 3.11 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447252)

Our *three* weapons are fear, uncertainty, and doubt... and an almost fanatical devotion to blue screen....
Our *four* ...

Re:Fixes (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447570)

Actually I think that if MSFT can't get Windows 7 out the door quick enough,or if it does and it carries the Vista stink of failure(yes,I know some folks like it.But enough folks have been burned that the WinMEII label won't be going away) I really wouldn't be surprised if they took one out of Apples playbook and bought a Linux or BSD to use as their next OS.It really wouldn't be hard for them to bolt a proprietary GUI on top of a Linux or BSD kernel and simply add a parallels style "compatibility layer" using the .dlls from WinXP and Win98.


I am just glad that the Asus EEE has taken off,since it would make buying Xandros more expensive than some of the other Linux Distros out there(I like my Xandros just the way it is,thank you very much).If I had to bet,it would be Novell or one of the older Linux or BSDs.I also think that moves like trying to buy Yahoo shows that they have no direction at the top,which is going to make it that much harder to make a decent OS,as design by committee is never good.

I think the era of a company pounding out an entire OS from scratch is coming to an end. It is just too risky and too costly an operation for even someone like MSFT,and the rise of the low end markets where they simply can't compete(and where they are shooting themselves in the foot by not keeping WinXP) is simply going to make it harder for them as time marches on.You really have to give Steve Jobs credit for seeing the writing on the wall and building OSX out of BSD.It minimizes his costs while giving him a rock solid base to work from.Anyway my .02c on the subject,YMMV.

If true... (0)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446730)

If that's true, that'd give me a whole new respect for MS. They are certainly capable of it, that's a given.

( Note: I am an asshole, and I approve of this message )

Must be the 10th article that I see (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446740)

...where someone writes about some random theory in an attempt to milk the MSFT+YHOO story without having any new facts to report.

Micro$oft Exploder - Tenacious Gates (2, Funny)

bobmarleypeople (1077639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446788)

(Sing to the tune of Master Exploder by Tenacious D)

Ahhhhh, ahhhhhh, ahhhhhhh, ahhhhhh, ahh ahhh ahhh ahhh
ahh ahh ahh ahhhh AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH YEAH!!

I do not need, (he does not need)
The Yahoo Bid (the yahoo bid)
Our Company is freakin, (freakin)
POWERFUL!
Aaaaaah yeah!

Arghhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
[Yahoo explodes]
Sorry
I did not mean, (he did not mean)
To screw your mind (to screw your mind)
But that stuff happens to us,
All the time!

Now take a look (take a look)
In to heaven? (In to heaven)
It's coming soon, WINDOWS SEVEEEEEENNNNNNNN!

AAAH! ArghhhAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Lyrics copyright to bobmarleypeople. w00t!

Cringley's an idiot (3, Funny)

kabdib (81955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446800)

Cringley's an idiot. There are far cheaper ways to do this. BillG could stand on the sidewalk in front of Yahoo and hand out hire-on-bonus checks if all that MS wanted was employees, and MS would have been far, far ahead, stock-price-wise.

Re:Cringley's an idiot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22447110)

And Frodo could have hopped on the back of a freakin' Eagle, flown the 2 hour trip in to Mount Doom, and dunked the ring and been home in time for dinner.

But where's the adventure in that?

Re:Cringley's an idiot (5, Funny)

martin_henry (1032656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447442)

And Frodo could have hopped on the back of a freakin' Eagle, flown the 2 hour trip in to Mount Doom, and dunked the ring and been home in time for dinner.

But where's the adventure in that?

No homoerotic overtones?

Not realistic, here's why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446802)

It wouldn't solve their problem. They need market share at all costs, _destroying_ Yahoo wouldn't help because most users would turn to Google anyway. I think they'll raise their bid to 50 billion dollars and try again. If this gets through, it will be so unfortunate for Yahoo because they did so much for the web and FOSS in general. You can buy pretty much anything, but you can't buy good karma. 40 billion dollars even less so.

..it might be ...... (2, Insightful)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446844)

... that Microsoft's business acumen in providing a better product over the years [youtube.com] has overflowed into their Corporate Finance department.....

Jokes apart, there is a possible explanation which implies no wickedness on the part of MS: MS investments in his search engine + ad seller has been less effective than Yahoo's. MS would never be allowed to bid for Google, so it must settle for second best, which is not a bad place to be if you are much lower in the totem pole.

Given the cash pile burning a hole in MS pocket the cash pile burning a hole in MS pocket [yahoo.com] , the pressure to put the money to work somewhere, or return it to shareholders, is enormous, and they cannot or would not invest it in making a better product overall.

That's just about the single stupidest idea... (5, Insightful)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 6 years ago | (#22446868)

I've ever heard. And I've played catch with rock hammers.

MS did it because they wanted to consolidate a larger advertising and search engine position, and a major internet portal. It was probably still a bad decision, but who can really say what the results would have been ten years down the line?

Look at what MS Stock did. It had broken out of a major rut--a rut not justified by its earnings--for the first time in years following an earnings report last year. Now it's down 24% off its high. Twenty-Four percent. Balmer has lost $3.6 Billion, Gates has lost twice that, and even employees who've only lost twenty or fifty or seventy thousand aren't happy about it--because that is a big chunk of their savings. Now that price change isn't all yahoo, by any stretch of the imagination. But a big chunk of is it from the Yahoo offer.

You don't take that hit for an offer you aren't interested in following through on.

Re:That's just about the single stupidest idea... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446952)

The stupidest idea was posting those ass-stretching pics on usenet. At least they don't show my face.

Rob 'Goatse' Malda

Re:That's just about the single stupidest idea... (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447268)

MS did it because they wanted to consolidate a larger advertising and search engine position, and a major internet portal. It was probably still a bad decision, but who can really say what the results would have been ten years down the line?

Frankly, having been an investment professional for 20 years, I do not see the difference between what I said and what you said. IMHO, if that had been true as a major driver MS would have bought out IBM's share in OS2 years back.

Re:That's just about the single stupidest idea... (1)

karl marx is my hero (1222496) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447334)

Of course. But this is typical Cringley bullshit. He has to write tripe like this to drive up hits to his irrelevant blog in hopes of getting people to watch his irrelevant TV show. This isn't the first time Cringley has pontificated on things he has no clue about.

Businesses as usual for the grunts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446874)

Consensus in our group is that anything MS does will be 3-6 months before a sale closes, then 3-6 months (minimum) before any technology changes. Putting things at 6-12 months before any major (technology) changes related to a MS bid occur. Definitely not "ZOMG, I must quit immediately".

You've got tons of speculation about Yahoo! ramping up frequency of releases ... I assure you projects like those have been in the works for a while, you don't just do a yahoo-scale project in 3 weeks.

Look at it this way - Yahoo! just had layoffs (all apologies to those affected). Even apart from MS, the types of smart people who don't like being in a company going through layoffs are going to be looking around. The types of smart (or dumb) people who don't like working with MS technologies, or MS business practices might also now be looking around.

While the MS offer is a significant event, in my opinion, most things are just business as usual. Stay on top of your kick-ass projects, push out improvements, new things, etc. Don't do crappy work if you can avoid it. With some of the changes in focus / structure, I'm optimistic about Yahoo's future. I might be opening myself up for criticism, but point me to a *bad* Yahoo product (and ask.yahoo.com doesn't count).

The biggest criticisms you can level against most yahoo products are: 1 - the advertising ... 2 - checkbox featuritis (adding features just because market competitors have them, not because it's what the users need). 3 - general lack of inspiration ... it's different when a startup builds a product that scales from 10-100-1,000-10,000 users. Yahoo builds crap that starts at 10,000 users and the minimal feature set needed at that level is kindof staggering (leading to development by checkboxes rather than organic growth ... a lack of inspiration).

--A.Yahoo

Here's what I think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22446918)

Don't forget SAP.... MSFT really sent them into a tizzy, right?! What absolute rubbish! yahoo's value is in it's websites and the traffic that it commands. Not in it's employees. Yes, there is a relationship between the two, but Yahoo's most valuable assets are its sites! A few missing employees won't send those sites into a tailspin.

msft doesn't *have* to do anything. They can just wait and buy them for $25 this time next year... if they're willing to wait. There were rumors of Msft buying out Yahoo within 12 months ago... stock went up to $35. This time stock price only went to $30. The problem with waiting though, is that Goog just keeps pumping along and continues to build out value for their own sites, blanketting anything that Yahoo and Msft can possibly put together.

keep any eye on Google's Finance pages. Already, it's allowing developers to pull in more information and data than Yahoo finance. It doesn't get quite the same number of eyeballs as yahoo finance, but it's a good product. Google finance can overtake Yahoo finance in 2 years.

Same with flickr vs. picasa. Picasa is a good, solid product. I can put a thousand images for free, unlike flickr which only shows 200 for free. Right now, I prefer Flickr, but with the right decisions, Picasa can overtake Flickr in 2-4 years too. Flickr team is much more responsive than the rest of Yahoo though, so this may not happen. I don't get the feeling that Flickr is resting on their laurels. Notice that when Yahoo Photos closed last year, they didn't give users a choice to migrate photos to picasa?

Msft has to make themselves more developer friendly... but they don't have *anything* worth giving out like Google (apart from their OS, which we know won't happen). In this web2.0 world, that's what we developers want, isn't it? Data and resources? Collecting it ourselves is way too time consuming. By the time that we amass enough datapoints, Google is already there giving it out for free. With Yahoo NOW and freeing up some of their resources with some good decisions, they might be able to create something pretty amazing. Yahoo won't be able to do it themselves - if they give everything out, they can be left with nothing of their own.

Nonsense (4, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447016)

Nobody makes a $40B+ offer just to screw with another company. That's WAY too much money. While business disruption might be a desirable side effect, especially if the merger doesn't go through, it isn't why MS made the offer. When MS tried to buy Intuit, it was because they wanted to dominate personal finance software, not because they wanted to screw with Intuit. If memory serves they were blocked from the merger by the government due to the effective monopoly the merger would cause.

If I was a shareholder (I'm not) and it ever came out that MS was doing that with their cash hoard instead of finding market beating investment opportunities, I'd have my lawyer on the phone faster than you could say "class action lawsuit".

Nonsense indeed (1)

Cannelloni (969195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447148)

I don't know what's gotten into Cringely. He seems to have lost his touch. There is nothing refined, intelligent, clever about Microsoft's attempts to take over Yahoo: it's just a simple hostile takeover attempt, and that's it. No hidden agenda, just a desire to get back at Google. And it will fail of course.

The Solution: (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447262)

Let's expose the deal for what it really is:

If M$ is truly interested in Yahoo! to strengthen its ad play, then they should just buy Yahoo!'s ad business. M$ should agree to that, right?

Yahoo! can then outsource their ads to somebody else. There's been speculation that they would do it to Google, but at that point, the market is much more competitive since M$ has strengthened its ad play--M$ and Google (and anyone else) can compete for ad Yahoo!'s business.

Thus everyone supposedly wins:
  • M$ strengthens its ad biz.
  • Yahoo! realizes a immediate gain by selling its ad biz and immediately realizes an increase in revenue by outsourcing its ads.
  • Can't see the threat of antitrust blocking these deals since Yahoo! has made the ad market more competitive.
  • Google wins because, whether they like it or not, the added competition is good for them :-)


My biggest fear (4, Interesting)

pavera (320634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447290)

If MS buys Yahoo, what happens to Zimbra? Yahoo just bought them, and I'm 100% sure MS will kill that project the day they take over, they don't want any competition for exchange, and certainly not open source competition.

Zimbra might not be the greatest software, but it is in my opinion the best open source collaboration/email software out there. It is the only serious competitor to exchange in the open source world. And it will be gone if MS completes this takeover.

screwing with history, too (1)

epine (68316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22447308)

This is more or less off topic, but I just happen to stumble onto it via the 14 Greatest Engineering Challenges.

Computer History 5 - Personal Computers [greatachievements.org] by William H. Gates III, (C) 2008 by National Academy of Engineering.

Emphasis, mine. Interjections, mine. Brackets, mine.

After the Intel 8080 microprocessor was chosen for the Altair, two young computer buffs from Seattle, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, won the job of writing software that would allow it to be programmed in BASIC.
The weedy buffs win again, no fair.

Nowhere was interest in personal computing more intense than in the vicinity of Palo Alto, California, a place known as Silicon Valley because of the presence of many big semiconductor firms. Electronics hobbyists abounded there, and two of them--Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak--turned their tinkering into a highly appealing consumer product: the Apple II, a plastic-encased computer with a keyboard, screen, and cassette tape for storage.
Holy Tinker Bell, Batman. Pass the duct tape, Robin.

Among them were three kinds of applications that made this desktop device a truly valuable tool for business--word processing, spreadsheets [VisiCalc], and databases. The market for personal computers exploded, especially after IBM weighed in with a crap product in 1981. Its crap offering used a crap operating system from Microsoft, MS-DOS, but due to a truly superior keyboard was quickly adopted by other manufacturers, allowing any given program to run on a wide variety of machines.
Nothing clacked quite like the original IBM PC.

Hardware like the [Xerox] mouse made the computer easier to control; operating systems allowed the [Xerox] screen to be divided into independently managed [Xerox] windows; applications programs steadily widened the range of what computers could do; and processors were lashed together--thousands of them in some cases-in order to solve pieces of a problem in parallel. Meanwhile, new communications standards [Xerox, AT&T, Berkeley] enabled computers to be joined in private networks or the incomprehensibly intricate global weave of the Internet.
To be fair, Xerox gets its due in the timeline section.

1970 Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

Xerox Corporation assembles a team of researchers in information and physical sciences in Palo Alto, California, with the goal of creating "the architecture of information." Over the next 30 years innovations emerging from the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) include the concept of windows (1972), the first real personal computer (Alto in 1973), laser printers (1973), the concept of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) word processors (1974), and EtherNet (1974). In 2002 Xerox PARC incorporates as an independent company--Palo Alto Research Center, Inc.
Here he finds a fancy way to explain he still lives in his parent's basement:

1975 First home computer is marketed to hobbyists

The Altair 8800, widely considered the first home computer, is marketed to hobbyists by Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems. The build-it-yourself kit doesn't have a keyboard, monitor, or its own programming language; data are input with a series of switches and lights. But it includes an Intel microprocessor and costs less than $400. Seizing an opportunity, fledgling entrepreneurs Bill Gates and Paul Allen propose writing a version of BASIC for the new computer. They start the project by forming a partnership called Microsoft.
A fledgling is a young bird that has recently left its nest (it has fledged) but is still dependent upon parental care and feeding.

Speaking of which, the other history-rewriting seizure-in-residence, Darl McBride, appears to have finally come to the end of his feather.
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