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Gates Explains Microsoft's Need for Yahoo

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the let-me-explan-my-need-for-a-fresh-cup-of-coffee dept.

Microsoft 271

eldavojohn writes "Perhaps it's obvious to you and perhaps you'll be pleasantly surprised by his answer but Gates revealed to CNet why Microsoft needs Yahoo. From his response, "We have a strategy for competing in the search space that Google dominates today, that we'll pursue that we had before we made the Yahoo offer, and that we can pursue without that. It involves breakthrough engineering. We think that the combination with Yahoo would accelerate things in a very exciting way, because they do have great engineers, they have done a lot of great work. So, if you combine their work and our work, the speed at which you can innovate and get things done is just dramatically more rapid. So, it's really about the people there that want to join in and create a better search, better portal for a very broad set of customers. That's the vision that's behind saying, hey, wouldn't this be a great combination.""

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Why not save $40 billion then? (5, Insightful)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502518)

You know, if its the great engineers that they want, why not just allocate $40 million or so to hiring them away from Yahoo? Getting access to Yahoo technology isn't really as big of a deal if they are talking about making something new. And great engineers are good at coming up with ideas anyways. If Microsoft couldn't think of doing things a cheaper way, then I doubt they are going to be able to drop the fat enough to fight Google. They are just throwing money at the problem when there are other ways. They could make a think tank like Xerox PARC with all the engineers they could hire for a fraction of the cost. And it would be a safer investment because what's to stop those engineers from just quiting after the buyout? $40 billion could be better spent.

Microsoft has forgotten that it doesn't take much money to get things done. A guy in a garage Bill, a guy in a garage.

Brute force and ignorance (5, Insightful)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502550)

Microsoft is pursuing the buyout path because they can. They have a metric shitload of money, so throwing money around is their customary solution to every problem that comes their way.

Re:Brute force and ignorance (5, Funny)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502750)

a metric shitload
Is that the SI shitload? Is it bigger or smaller than the imperial shitload? Can you combine the two shitloads when, for example, landing spacecraft?

Re:Brute force and ignorance (2, Funny)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502886)

I wouldn't recommend combining a metric shitload with an imperial shitload when dealing with manned spacecraft, unless you want NASA to stand for "Need Another Seven Astronauts".

Re:Brute force and ignorance (5, Funny)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502934)

I hope its SI, its a lot easier talking about kiloshitloads and centeshitloads as opposed to trying to covert imperial shitloads to shittons and shitgallons.

Re:Brute force and ignorance (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502764)

actually MSFT can't afford to buy yahoo at the current price. they will have to take out some loans, or they will wipe out all of their cash on hand.

MSFT has less than $20 billion in cash available. With a dropping stock price MSFT will have to borrow money to buy yahoo.

On top of that MSFT has a history of screwing up acquisitions, and ruining whatever potentional they might of had. Remember yahoo is freeBSD based, MSFT will first attempt to replace all the servers with windows ones. Buy the time a new search engine is ready no one will remember yahoo brand.

Re:Brute force and ignorance (4, Insightful)

haystor (102186) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502990)

The cool thing about buying something like Yahoo is you can finance against the assets of the acquisition. Typically you might issue stock of your own company reflecting your value of theirs, only risking dilution of your own stock (looking at you Time Warner). Or some combo of that and cash.

What he's not saying is MS wanted to buy market Yahoo has. Critical mass is the most important thing in the search space. You don't spend $46B for strategic hires.

Re:Brute force and ignorance (2, Insightful)

eison (56778) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503258)

If critical mass was the most important thing in the search space, Yahoo would have beat Altavista who would have beat Google.

Quality results are all that matter in the search space.

Re:Brute force and ignorance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22503306)

Quality results don't pay the bills.

Re:Brute force and ignorance (5, Insightful)

naoursla (99850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503464)

Selling ads is what matters in the search business.
Selling niche ads is what made Google money.
To sell niche ads you have to have lots and lots of niches.
To have lots and lots of niches you have to have lots and lots of customers and you have to know what niche those customers are in.
To have lots and lots of customers you need quality results.
Luckily in search, your customers tell you what niche they are in with their search queries.
Also, if you someone manage to get lots and lots of customers you can use their search behavior to improve your results.
The search engine with the largest number of customers improves their search engine the fastest.
They also happen to make the most money.

Microsoft doesn't have enough debt (4, Insightful)

pacalis (970205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503126)

Microsoft is way underleveraged for a mature company. With debt as cheap as it is, especially given MSFTs debt rating, they should go into debt whether they buy YHOO or pay out additional dividents.

Re:Brute force and ignorance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22503360)

It is more likely that Microsoft simply sells ads using Yahoo's visitors and leaves everything else alone than it is for Microsoft to gut the Yahoo infrastructure as their first task.

Re:Why not save $40 billion then? (4, Insightful)

rve (4436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502710)

You're absolutely right. If I were a MS shareholder, I'd demand that they focus on making money selling the software people use to get to their Google services, not spending 40 billion trying to turn a very successful software company into a probably doomed internet content / advertisement company, directly competing with Google.

Microsoft are helping their shareholders (1)

ardle (523599) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503354)

by keeping their share price high through an economic dip. People who are looking for a secure investment may be more likely to buy Microsoft because of all this hype.
SCO's share price amply demonstrated that people don't need much motivation to buy :-(
If Microsoft actually spend money on purchasing Yahoo, then they are doing their shareholders a dis-service, as you said.

Re:Why not save $40 billion then? (1)

Spinlock_1977 (777598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503502)

And YOU are absolutely right. I still don't understand why they think they're in the advertising business. It's not like they don't have some software things to work on.

Despite what Gates said, the reality is much more likely they need the patents Yahoo! holds, not the people who did the work.

- spinLock [blogspot.com]

Re:Why not save $40 billion then? (2, Informative)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502826)

It is funny though that MS itself started this way and B Gates knows about this, maybe even better than anybody in the industry, yet we've being seen MS to become big bureaucratic enterprise that can't really innovate no more. Their XP success is pretty much logically follows from NT4, and NT4 was still being developed by VMS hacker guys, old-type, so MS windows department just added bells and whistles and created new OS.
What modern day MS Windows department itself can produce we've seen few times already (ME and Vista).
So far MS is turning into big behemoth that can serve only niche customers (like IBM LotusNotes, Sun etc). Maybe it's just logical development of any enterprise, when the very first head forgets that he didnt quite started the enterprise to make money or please shareholders.
And throwing money on the problem does nothing.

Re:Why not save $40 billion then? (4, Insightful)

vtscott (1089271) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502876)

I wonder how many yahoo engineers have non-compete clauses [wikipedia.org] in their contracts. If microsoft started cherry picking a bunch of yahoo engineers it seems very likely that yahoo would take legal action against those engineers. As far as the rest of your comment goes... It's an interesting idea, but microsoft seems to be less concerned about money and more about time. It takes time to develop those great ideas and get a bunch of customers on board. Yahoo already has the product developed and customers using it. This would allow microsoft to catch up now as opposed to 10 years down the road.

Re:Why not save $40 billion then? (3, Informative)

hrieke (126185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503264)

Because in California, Non-Competes [typepad.com] have no legal value.

That said, I agree 100% with the notion that this is MS' Waterloo. They have effectively stated that they can not, even with owning the OS and web browser, use people's web habits and make money from that.

Perhaps a bunch of Silicon Valley types should buy some MS shares and start a proxy war over where MS is headed (demand that MS pay out their war chest for example)?

Just a RND thought.

Re:Why not save $40 billion then? (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503470)

Well, they're already making money from it. MSN/Live Search do have some revenue. Whether it's enough (whether it's even a positive net revenue) is another question.

Re:Why not save $40 billion then? (4, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503030)

Because they want the yahoo groups, mail, etc. Once they make them "silverlight only" they will have effectively locked people into a microsoft web. How many people will change groups because one member says that he cannot access it with Firefox?

Re:Why not save $40 billion then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22503170)

Yeah, a think tank with all the engineers they could hire!

They could call it, um... Microsoft Research [microsoft.com] !

Re:Why not save $40 billion then? (1)

emilper (826945) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503228)

My guess is Gates has not read "The Mythical Man-Month".

MS track record moving research to products (2, Interesting)

david.emery (127135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503364)

Microsoft Labs has done some really great stuff. But you don't see it in their products. That's why I have a really hard time believing MS can -execute- what Bill Gates proposed.

If you look at MS's desktop products, in particular, you see a pattern of buying a good product and then as part of integrating it, making it more and more baroque and buggy and security-vulnerable.

Reminds me of the comment I read somewhere during the MS anti-trust debates: "If Microsoft is so keen on innovation, fine. The decision of the court should be that Microsoft is free to innovate using ONLY their internal resources, but is restricted from acquiring any technology from other sources. This enables the Market to work better, by allowing innovations to move freely." I had friends working on a start-up, when Microsoft announced a potential competitor piece of -vapor-ware-, their funding dried up immediately, and MS never did deliver the goods...

dave

Technology isn't the issue (2, Insightful)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503524)

Yahoo is a trusted name. I have had my yahoo email account since it was Rocketmail. They have Dating, IM, Domain Hosting, Jobs, and a host of other small stuff besides. Their Search engine is NOTHING SPECIAL. Expect it is integrated with the Yahoo site as a whole. It's a question of interconnectivity. Yahoo Maps does a few things better then Google Maps, it meshes nicely with their Yellow Pages site and I use it to find subway stations and bus routes, a choice of closest businesses etc. Microsoft wants to buy a turn key operation not hire a bunch of geeks.

"because they do have great engineers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22502544)

"because they do have great engineers" translation "they have great PROGRAMMERS"...

Microsoft needs more programmers, at cut-rate wages.

Not a bay way to snap up a few good programmers.

No dobt there are a few real engineers are Yahoo, but mostly programmers is what they are after.

Breakthrough Engineering? (2, Funny)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502554)

Microsoft's approach to breakthrough engineering is through acquisitions? Is it just me or do I sense an oxymoron here...

Re:Breakthrough Engineering? (4, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502780)

Microsoft's approach to breakthrough engineering is through acquisitions? Is it just me or do I sense an oxymoron here...
Yes. Just like "innovated" PowerPoint and they "innovated" MS-DOS, etc. Bill Gates thinks "innovate" == "acquire through any means necessary".

Re:Breakthrough Engineering? (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503322)

I'd like to think that the way the company I work for "innovates" is by hiring innovative employees. I'd like to think most companies operate that way.

In that frame of mind, a mass acquisition is similar to a mass hiring, except you also get existing code, hardware, processes, etc.

Broken Engineering? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503400)

It's not just you. The absurdities are piling on top of each other, like cockroaches in a cup.

Gates: "We have a strategy for competing in the search space that Google dominates today, that we'll pursue that we had before we made the Yahoo offer, and that we can pursue without that. It involves breakthrough engineering."

"... competing in the search space..." That's corporate-speak. Generally, when someone uses corporate-speak, you can expect that they are talking baloney.

"... breakthrough engineering..." When has Microsoft ever had "breakthrough engineering". If you know of an example, please mention it.

Maybe he means "broken engineering". Microsoft's engineering is so bad that one of the biggest and most respected IT magazines is rejecting their newest product: Save Windows XP [infoworld.com] . Quote: "More than 75,000 people have signed InfoWorld's "Save XP" petition in the three weeks since it was launched - many with passionate, often emotional pleas to not be forced to make a change."

Bill Gates is software's Dr. Death. If you are pro-life, sign the petition.

The "engineering" of Windows XP was so bad that Windows XP was an enormous hassle until Service Pack 2 was released, 3 years after Windows XP was introduced. Then we got only 3 years of use with less hassle (except for a very large number of software engineering bugs that created vulnerabilities), and now Gates wants to kill it.

Microsoft has proven, over many years, that it does not know how to run a search engine. Buying Yahoo will not magically make Microsoft smarter, especially since Yahoo has proven, over many years, that...

Re:Broken Engineering? (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503490)

It's not just you. The absurdities are piling on top of each other, like cockroaches in a cup.

...or piling up like chairs being thrown in a corner?

Sorry...could not resist! ;)

Translation: (5, Funny)

brennanw (5761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502564)

"Look, we innovate. We innovate the hell out of stuff. Just yesterday I innovated a donut by taking one off some old guy when I pushed him down a flight of stairs. And Yahoo!, well, we're innovating them right now, and we're going to keep innovating them until they stop moving. Then we'll use their bloated corpse to innovate any Google employee that gets in our way."

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22502670)

Microsoft hasn't "innovated" anything in their entire existence. They've either bought or stolen pretty much every idea or product they've ever used. Put Microsoft in a bubble where they can't see what innovations other companies have done and they'd sit on their thumbs thinking they were the best at everything simply because they were Microsoft.

This company needs to die already.

But you're so wrong! (2, Funny)

brennanw (5761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502784)

I mean, in terms of software DEVELOPMENT you're right. I'd even say "spot on." But in terms of defining how the computer industry does BUSINESS... well, they wrote the playbook of dirty tricks, copyrighted it, and leased it to the rest of the industry. Marketers in the computer industry, no matter where they work, have a picture of Bill Gates on their wall, candles lined underneath, and genuflect to it every time they enter or leave that room.

Re:But you're so wrong! (4, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502852)

Marketers in the computer industry, no matter where they work, have a picture of Bill Gates on their wall, candles lined underneath, and genuflect to it every time they enter or leave that room.
Doesn't everybody have one those? *amazed*

Translation (4, Interesting)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502570)

"Without Yahoo, we are years behind, and likely to stay that way"

Am I right or am I right?

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22502756)

I don't know. I only took one year of managerese at uni, this is way beyond me.

We have a strategy for competing in the search space that Google dominates today, that we'll pursue that we had before we made the Yahoo offer, and that we can pursue without that

This, for instance. I have no idea how to parse this at all.

the speed at which you can innovate and get things done is just dramatically more rapid.

If this makes any sense at all, it's redundant.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22503332)

It was probably transcribed exactly the way he said it.. there were probably some important pauses in the sentence

We have a strategy for competing in the search space that Google dominates today, that we'll pursue that we had before we made the Yahoo offer, and that we can pursue without that

We have a strategy for competing in the search space that Google dominates today. We had plans before we made the Yahoo offer, and we'll pursue those plans with or without Yahoo.

But I'm sure you knew that.. big fan of the low hanging fruit, eh?

FIRST POST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22502578)

FOR ME 2 POOP ON

$20 million per capita (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502594)

I think Bill has gotten too used to thinking in terms of his own bank account. He should be able to retain some pretty impressive headhunters for a lot less than $20 million per engineer. He might even be able to hold aside some money to keep his $40 billion from leaving to work for Google the next week.

Bill is buying relevance (3, Insightful)

dougwhitehead (573106) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502918)

Its not only about the engineer. If it were, Microsoft would (and may) go only as far as "due diligence" and get access to Yahoo proprietary information such as the important employee list.

But I think, Microsoft wants to buy users (Flickr, Delicious, Yahoo Mail, etc.). Google is making Microsoft less relevant, and there is some sort of network effect that makes smaller players nearly impossible to catch up. Anyone can duplicate an Ebay, but you can't duplicate the user base. The success of the services have less to do with the technology, and more to do with the users and where they expect to get their information.

Gates Explain's Microsoft's Need for Yahoo (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502608)

from the Cmdr-Taco-needs-a-grammar-checker dept.

Re:Gates Explain's Microsoft's Need for Yahoo (1, Redundant)

chrisb33 (964639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502740)

Clearly he's not a member of the Apostrophe Protection Society [fsnet.co.uk] .

Re:Gates Explain's Microsoft's Need for Yahoo (3, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503196)

Is that grammar or spulling? But at any rate he needs to meet Bob [angryflower.com] . Sadly, so do a lot of other slashdotters.

Or why not... (2, Funny)

whtmarker (1060730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502620)

Yahoo is acquired by Google, then Yoogle turns around and acquires Microsoft. Classic Pac Man defense [wikipedia.org] .

And here I thought... (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502624)

And here I thought it was because Yahoo's pages are as fugly and user-hostile as Microsoft's. Shows how dumb I am.

That's "explains." (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22502628)

That's "explains," CmdrIlliterate.

Christ, hire an editor for these editors.

Um, didn't Gates quit? (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502654)

I seem to recall that he stated he was retiring. And back in 2000, didn't he quit then, as well?

Re:Um, didn't Gates quit? (2, Informative)

imadork (226897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502868)

billg is still chairman of the board.

Re:Um, didn't Gates quit? (5, Funny)

Kaetemi (928767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503226)

yep, he's responsible for putting back the chairs

Re:Um, didn't Gates quit? (2, Funny)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503536)

I thought the Chair-Man was Ballmer?

Re:Um, didn't Gates quit? (3, Informative)

SEMW (967629) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503410)

I seem to recall that he stated he was retiring. And back in 2000, didn't he quit then, as well?
Prior to 2000, BG was CEO and chairman of the board. In 2000, he quit as CEO, and took up a job as Chief Software Architect. Later this year, he will quit that job, so will no longer be employed by Microsoft; but will still be chairman of its board.

Where have I heard this before (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502658)

So, if you combine their work and our work, the speed at which you can innovate and get things done is just dramatically more rapid.

This is the school of thought that thinks if you get nine women pregnant you will have a baby in one month.

Re:Where have I heard this before (0)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502992)

You mean that's not how it works???

Re:Where have I heard this before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22503166)

...you won't? Whoops. That certainly explains why none of them would see my unfaith^H^H^H^H^H^H^H getting to know new people-ing as what it really was; headhunting for a new project.

Re:Where have I heard this before (2)

Saurian_Overlord (983144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503180)

Um, no, it's from the school of thought that says two people working together can get a job done faster than one person.

Re:Where have I heard this before (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503368)

That is highly dependent on the job being able to be split into multiple activities. Writing this post for instance is not very well split into a job for multiple people. Design is often not well split into multiple tasks, too many cooks spoil the soup.

Yea but.. (2, Insightful)

thedigitalbean (268010) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503486)

If you start having sex with 9 women right now the chances of you being a father in 9 months is much greater than if you only had sex with one.

grammar nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22502664)

Gates Explain's ?

what about marketshare? (4, Insightful)

utnapistim (931738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502688)

So, if you combine their work and our work, the speed at which you can innovate and get things done is just dramatically more rapid. So, it's really about the people there that want to join in and create a better search, better portal for a very broad set of customers.
While I'm sure the people and the innovation speed and all that sound nice, if he'd have said "We want yahoo for the marketshare" it would have been more credible.

Re:what about marketshare? (5, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502854)

No, they don't just want the marketshare. They want to synergize the paradigm!

And combined accelerate double the speed rapid faster.

-

Re:what about marketshare? (2, Funny)

smurfsurf (892933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503534)

> And combined accelerate double the speed rapid faster.

I like to add: Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all.

money money money.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22503140)

"for a very broad set" of customers" do you mean we will have to pay to search? not to mention that but if they do get yahoo their stocks will still go down.. not many people are actually behind microsoft on this one.

Re:what about marketshare? (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503392)

Saying that he only wants Yahoo for the marketshare does not make Yahoo employees feel any better about being part of an aquisition.

why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22502696)

why is there an apostrophe in "explain's"?
How can people not know where they go?

crowd control (1)

atamagabakkaomae (1241604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502704)

from the article: "..things..at least among younger people in the more developed markets just become common sense that that's the way things get done."

Is that how he got Windows done?

Re:crowd control (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503308)

Considering there's a fix for it every tuesday, that's a funny use of the word "done".

Back in the stone age of PC computing, Microsoft's motto was "DOS ain't done 'til Lotus won't run". That's how Microsoft has always Exceled.

To Bill Gates (5, Funny)

uss (1151577) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502726)

Dear Bill Gates,

First, Take a look at http://www.eep.com/merchant/newsite/samples/ee/ee0801.htm [eep.com] , for "Why Most Mergers Fail".

Next, take a look at press releases involving mergers in financial and industrial companies.
Note, how there is highest emphasis on cost savings, and very little mention of ideals and NEW business strategy after the merger.

Lastly, the kind of "merger" you are suggesting is typically done as a buyout of a small company by a much larger company.

See! This is what happens if you drop out of Business School.

For just a 0.1% Fee based on the deal value, I can help provide further advice.

Good Luck!

and if ms buys yahoo? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502730)

and if the best & brightest leave to work somewhere else at the moment of acquisition thus benefiting neither yahoo or microsoft, leaving yahoo looking like a building with a few servers & developers workstations and a few secretaries & janitor with a mop & bucket...

For the love of gods ... (-1, Offtopic)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502772)

There's no such thing as a possessive verb! Seriously, do the editors get paid actual money for this shit?

Re:For the love of gods ... (-1, Offtopic)

Satevis (1160823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502902)

It drives me nuts too. LEARN TO SPELL! Is it just my imagination, or is spelling on the Internet getting worse every year? I think people see each other's horrible spelling mistakes and get more confused. It's embarrassing for education systems; kids are supposed to be learning to distinguish between common homonyms in about the fourth grade.

Boil it down (4, Interesting)

Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502794)

better portal for a very broad set of customers

You can boil his entire quote down to the above 7 words. Microsoft likes nothing more than to get their name/software/web properties in front of everyone's face. Adding Yahoo and all Yahoo's users to their portfolio is what they want. Imagine if all of a sudden everyone with a @yahoo.com email address automatically had a Passport account... all of a sudden Yahoo messenger is 100% compatible with MSN messenger.

Re:Boil it down (3, Interesting)

ubannoying (1180225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502942)

The problem with this plan is that many of these "customers" use the yahoo portal because they find to be the better portal as it currently is. If Microsoft takes over Yahoo, what are the odds that they'll leave the portal alone? Slim to none, I'd say. If they "innovate" it into the MSN portal, I think they'll lose a lot of customers, and find that they didn't really gain a lot in the acquisition.

Re:Boil it down (1)

naoursla (99850) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503506)

Nah... Microsoft would probably not switch all yahoo email addresses to hotmail. That would destroy a valuable brand. It is more likely that yahoo email accounts would being displaying ads sold by Microsoft.

Comes from great minds (3, Funny)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502812)

This merger comes from the great minds who brought us Reese's Chocolate and Garlic Butter Cups.

Re:Comes from great minds (2, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503128)

It was an inspiring accident! A Microsoft CIO bumped into a Yahoo! CTO in the hallway...

"Hey! I got some of my 'sucks' on your 'blows'!"
"I got some of my 'blows' on your 'sucks'!"
"You know, combining 'sucks' and 'blows' is a great taste!"

Speech (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502816)

Speech, speech, speech (obligatory Arrested development quote). Ok down to business.

The version after Vista is a big step forward in terms of speech. It's a big step forward in terms of ink. It's a big step forward in terms of touch. I'd say that the likelihood is that touch will become mainstream on certain form factors very quickly, because we're working hand-in-hand with the hardware companies.
What is with M$ and their big interest in speech recognition these days? I keep seeing commercials with cars and their speech-recognition stereos and navigation systems. I have never really desired to use speech recognition, but I do see its applications for those who have motor skill disabilities or limited/no use of their hands. I'm not too experienced with it but anytime phones have that pesky voice dial it's 99% useless, of course it's probably not a n M$ software running it. Commercials make their speech recognition look great, but those are just that: commercials.

I'd say that the likelihood is that touch will become mainstream on certain form factors very quickly, because we're working hand-in-hand with the hardware companies.
I suppose that is the paradigm for things now, with the iPhone, and the Wii and touchscreens (although those have been around for a long time). I'm not so sure what he's trying to get at with that whole touch on certain form factors, is that writing on tablets???. Maybe someone else can enlighten me.

Re:Speech (1)

cching (179312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503102)

I think speech enabled gadgets are great and possibly life saving. Any time I'm almost run off the road by some idiot who insists on trying to hold their little mini-phone up to their ear by wedging it in between his shoulder and ear I think how essential speech enabling these devices really is.

Re:Speech (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503428)

Well, in cars speech makes great sense. I don't want to take more than one hand off the wheel, and I don't want to take my eyes off the road. That's why I like my stereo controls and cruise controls that reside on the steering wheel, and wish the heater controls didn't force me to look away from the road as well. Saying "KSHE" and having your stereo tune itself to 94.7 is, to me, far preferable than hitting that control on the wheel several times, or finding the button on the stereo.

And when at home I'd like to be able to say "lights off" instead of having to get my lazy ass off of the couch. Everybody else must be the same way or TVs wouldn't have remotes.

When I had my Razr I loved the voice dial, especially when driving. It also got people saying "cool!" when I'd flip in open and say "Leila" into it and it would dial my daughter (I should sue Futurama for copyright infringement and bad spelling!)

I'd like a computer that needed no keyboard. Keyboards should be optional accessories.

MS needs Yahoo for the same exact reasons... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22502822)

...why they needed all the others they gobbled up: Microsoft acquires, not innovates.

Problem is... (5, Insightful)

JamesP (688957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502830)

Take great engineers, put them in a crappy company and they'll not be that bright.

Most of the problems (of people sucking) are inside the companies: philosophy work environment, colleagues, etc.

What I see from this interview... (1)

red star hardkore (1242136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502848)

We all know they've run out of ways to remanufacture their products and make them look new over and over again. We all know that they want to break into the goldmine that is internet advertising. It's not just about breakthroughs and being first to the market anymore though, and Bill knows that. Microsoft have an image problem and that's what holds them back. I believe that the reason he's after Yahoo! isn't for programmers or market share, it's for their image and branding.

Ahahahahahaaaa (1)

Mystery00 (1100379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502878)

because they do have great engineers, they have done a lot of great work. So, if you combine their work and our work

Mr. Gates should have been a comedian.

No Zimbra??? (4, Interesting)

jkrise (535370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502916)

Just an hour ago, I spoke to a Zimbra partner, and he informs me that in case MS does get to buy Yahoo, Zimbra would be out of it, to allay antitrust fears. That would mean Zimbra will have to be sold back by Yahoo and bought over by some other company. Is this true? Or is the popularity of Zimbra the reason why Microsoft would buy Yahoo to kill it off?

Re:No Zimbra??? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22503320)

What the fuck is Zimbra?

Senario mitigation (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502922)

I recognise an ongoing bullshit senario when I see one, and this is one!

Imagine using MS software to do Your web searching (1)

Laughing Pigeon (1166013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502966)

"Hi, I am Clippy, Your personal search assistent. It looks like You are looking for porn, would You like a hand?"

Translation: (1)

Dracos (107777) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502974)

"Yahoo! is our search strategy now. We've spent years trying to find a paper clip with a junkyard crane magnet, and we've failed."

Re:Translation: (1)

Laughing Pigeon (1166013) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503058)

"Yahoo! is our search strategy now. We've spent years trying to find a paper clip with a junkyard crane magnet, and we've failed."

I am sorry to correct You but they did not fail at all, on the contrary, the only thing they found when searching valuables were in fact tons of paperclips. The only solution for getting rid of the rubbish was giving every customer one for free along with their Office Suite.

Buy Out (1)

Griff-GW (1235800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22502986)

Buy Out and ruin a company its the MS way.

Translation (4, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503020)

We have a strategy for competing in the search space that Google dominates today,

"Ballmer has his panties in a bunch. He said we're going to fucking kill Google, and he gets a little attached sometimes, you know? So now we've got to figure a way to f'ing kill Google."

that we'll pursue that we had before we made the Yahoo offer,

"In case you think we're upset about Yahoo's rejection, we're not. Ballmer's still stuck on the '<expletive> kill Google' thing (do I have to keep saying it?) - he can't even see Yahoo past the bulging vein in his forehead."

<from offstage> "Yes you have got to goddammed keep saying it!" <sound of chair crashing into wall>

and that we can pursue without that.

"OK, we admit he's a little obsessed. But don't think this will divert an painful amount of capital into an a space in which we have utterly failed for years. Because, ummm, we don't want you to think that."

It involves breakthrough engineering.

"All we need is some of that breakthrough engineering stuff. We hear that stuff is all the rage with the kids these days, and we figure if we can get some of it, we'll be all set to *** kill Google."

We think that the combination with Yahoo would accelerate things in a very exciting way,

"We looked around for startups to partner with, so we could copy their technology then dump them, but apparently everyone has heard the compendium of stories that start with Stac. We figure it'll be easier to buy Yahoo. (we figure it would be easier to host a snowman making competition in hell, incidentally) Just have to figure a way past that little, 'Yahoo flipping hates us' thing."

Is that thing off? (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503062)

'Cause I also wanted to add, off the record, that we are going to f***ing kill Google. Yes, that's F-star-star-star-I-N-G kill Google.

What is that red light for?

Re:Is that thing off? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503480)

"Finding kill Google?" Huh?

But... but... but... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503112)

So, if you combine their work and our work, the speed at which you can innovate and get things done is just dramatically more rapid.

Wouldn't that require Microsoft to innovate? With all the problems of Microsoft combining the two very different cultures, asking Microsoft to innovate at the same time (and some may say, for the first time) may be too much for Microsoft to handle.

A better portal? (1)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503146)

I've always thought that one of the main reasons Google took off so well is because it WASN'T a portal. Most people want a search engine, not a portal.

I would imagine that most of the people that use Yahoo do so because they DO want a portal, and they know they don't like Microsoft's portal. I realize they want the people at Yahoo, but it just seems to me their strategy of "Lets keep doing the same thing that people already gave up in favor of Google" is silly.

No risk then... (0, Flamebait)

gweihir (88907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503152)

Since MS has never made any significant engineering breakthroughs, why should they now? Everything they did so far was aquire or copy (i.e. steal) technology. This also means that without Yahoo, they have not the faintest chance. Good. This will ensure high-quality platform-independent web-search will remain available.

Why Microsoft REALLY wants Yahoo (4, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503288)

It is not very well known, but I remember talking to an engineer at Yahoo, and I asked, "How do you make money?" He said, this was a couple years ago, that 60% of all e-commerce sites were hosted by yahoo. Think about that, credit cards, transactions, data, users, etc. M$ would live to control that.

Think of all the anti-competitive stuff they could do. Subtle problems with non-windows platforms or non IE browsers. A requirement of Microsoft Wallet. (Remember that?)

There are a ton of reasons why Yahoo owned by microsoft would be a bad thing for the world. I hope Yahoo remains independent.

The Bottom Line ... (1)

Benuwine (1243598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503326)

... In a failing market for a failing business with failing products, these are the throes of a giant falling. If the acquisition was to go through MS has no intention on enhancing or improving search portals or any other service that Y! brings to the table (hasn't MS had plenty of time to prove this?) So instead of refocusing their vision to innovate they've opted to imitate, and sadly this course will garner Y! the same end result as countless other acquisitions (but will make a bigger headline when it happens.)

Start thinking about what the people want and not about the fat cats pocketbooks.

It's for the warm bodies, not for technology (3, Informative)

Jon Noring (715238) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503460)

Bill Gates comment is interesting in that MS' purpose in acquiring Yahoo is primarily for Yahoo's technical people, and not for any particular technologies/IP held by Yahoo. That is, MS values Yahoo only for its technical people. In a sense MS is fighting a war against Google on two fronts: 1) the search engine business, and 2) attracting the sharpest technical people. MS is losing on both fronts. Instead of MS changing its corporate environment so as to again be attractive in recruiting sharp people, MS is simply trying to buy these people from other companies. It's sad really, and reflects the real problem with MS: its employee environment. Who wants to work for MS these days? (Just read Mini-Microsoft's blog for interesting insights into how MS has evolved -- it is a pretty brutal work environment that no longer sufficiently rewards those who excel.) It'd get real interesting if a significant number of Yahoo staff come out and publicly say they will move to other companies (e.g. Google) should MS buy out Yahoo. In fact, Google could get the word out essentially rolling out the red carpet for any Yahoo employee who decides to leave Yahoo should the MS takeover come to pass. Imagine if 1000 of the top Yahoo staff said "we will not work for MS." I can't think of a better "poison pill."

It's not about search (2, Informative)

0WaitState (231806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503516)

Microsoft is unlikely to be so interested in Yahoo for the search capability, though that's a nice side benefit. The real prizes are yahoo webmail and yahoo messenger. Combine those two with hotmail and MSN messenger and you have about 75% of all webmail traffic and about 2/3s of all IM traffic.

Fussing about the combined entity's search percentage is just noise--the real new killer market shares would be in webmail and IM.

It's the ad technology, not the search technology (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22503552)

I'm not sure that search technology matters all that much. For the first half of 2007, Yahoo search was probably better than Google search. Yahoo had all those special cases (weather, celebrities, stocks, etc.) working before Google did. Yet Yahoo's market share barely moved.

What matters for profitability is the effectiveness of the advertising-delivery system. In that, Google is way ahead of Yahoo, MSN, and the little guys (Ask, Mahalo, Wikia, etc.) Yahoo top management knew this in 2006 but couldn't catch up.

If Microsoft has some great idea, it's probably on the ad side, not the search side. They control a browser, so they can put in something intrusive if they want.

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