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Tellme Founder Tells Yahoo Not to Worry Over Microsoft Takeover

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the don't-worry-be-happy dept.

Microsoft 117

Tellme founder and previous Yahoo co-founder, Mike McCue hasn't spoken to past-partner Jerry Yang since the Microsoft takeover bid for Yahoo, but he wanted to let his friend know that being acquired by Microsoft isn't such a terrible proposition. "After being assured that Tellme would be able to retain its Silicon Valley office, identity and quirky culture, McCue negotiated an $800 million sale to Microsoft and agreed to stay on as general manager. It's a decision that he says he doesn't regret 10 months into the marriage. 'We are pretty much doing everything we were doing before - just a lot more of it,' said McCue, 40. Because of the vast differences in size, the Tellme deal obviously isn't an apples-to-apples comparison to Microsoft's proposed $40 billion acquisition of Yahoo, which contends it's worth even more money despite a two-year earnings slump."

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117 comments

I was in a MSFT acquisition (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22613916)

They told us we could keep our independence but almost immediately a VP decided we should be assimilated.

Re:I was in a MSFT acquisition (5, Funny)

pdusen (1146399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22613938)

Funny how you have no identity and gave none for your company.

Re:I was in a MSFT acquisition (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22613988)

Funny how you have no identity and gave none for your company.
Microsoft Mindwipe 2007 (tm).

Re:I was in a MSFT acquisition (3, Funny)

Headcase88 (828620) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614364)

I hate how they totally changed the interface from Microsoft Mindwipe 2003.

Re:I was in a MSFT acquisition (1)

andruk (1132557) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614524)

AFAIK there were no changes from Mindwipe 2003, that's just silly.

Everyone knows that Microsoft has good reasons for changing interfac...*bzzzt* ...what was I saying?

Re:I was in a MSFT acquisition (0, Flamebait)

pdusen (1146399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614928)

Ah, hello troll. I love you guys! I was wondering when you'd be out to play.

Seriously, I don't care if Microsoft is Nazi Germany. You can't just say "This article is wrong because I saw the opposite happen!" and then not offer any information to back up your claim. That's ridiculous.

Re:I was in a MSFT acquisition (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614730)

Thanks for this question, we are now number one result [google.com] for Microsoft Mindwipe 2007.

Yahoo!!!

Re:I was in a MSFT acquisition (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616538)

Thanks for this question, we are now number one result for Microsoft Mindwipe 2007.

Yahoo!!!
Sadly, it doesn't even appear on the first page on Yahoo!. Shenanigans, perhaps?

Re:I was in a MSFT acquisition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615302)

Funny how you have no identity and gave none for your company.
We all saw Hotmail and MS is still the same company run by same kind of people. As there are thousands of people working at Yahoo I personally know one advanced engineer who was about to re-apply for Yahoo and cancelled his plans right after MS news leaked out. Basic as that, that "proposal" is actually hurting Yahoo right now.

Posting this as AC since we are dealing with a search engine company here.

Given Yahoo's assistance in Totalitarian China... (2, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22613922)

...it'd be employees of Microsoft in that part of the world that need fear this takeover. Of course, when you let Wall Street rule the world, human rights gets thrown out of the window and into the next county.

Re:Given Yahoo's assistance in Totalitarian China. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22613944)

So I take it you've never bought anything made in China? Or is it only evil if other people help totalitarian governments and if you don't have to pay more money for your toys?

Re:Given Yahoo's assistance in Totalitarian China. (3, Interesting)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22613958)

What does that have anything to do with it? And nobody give me some smart answer- I mean directly, that has nothing to do with what we think about Yahoo's decisions about China.

Re:Given Yahoo's assistance in Totalitarian China. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614020)

Oddly enough the original poster's comment had two sentences, the second of which was a general note about the effect of money. I simply wanted to point out that getting on a high horse doesn't have much effect when you're covered in shit yourself already. The US government and probably every single person on slashdot helps the Chinese government grow and maintaining it's power. We give it money, we give it economic growth, we give it technological progress and we all ignore it's continual humanitarian abuses. We argue that this is better in the long term ,we argue that we are actually helping the Chinese people and so on.

Nonetheless every large company is China has probably had one government order or another requesting information on it's workers, or on it's customers or wiretaps or whatever. The exact same thing is done in the US, the police sometimes request things from companies and companies give that information up. If your company does business in China it can either follow it's laws or not do business there, no one seems to mind the former as long as they can save some money (including likely every single slashdot poster when they buy computer parts).

not really (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614780)

MSN also turned over evidence. It was not just Yahoo. The only SE that did not turn over direct evidence was Google (though they do censor, like the others, but they point out that censoring took place, unlike the other 2).

Re:Given Yahoo's assistance in Totalitarian China. (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615326)

...it'd be employees of Microsoft in that part of the world that need fear this takeover. Of course, when you let Wall Street rule the world, human rights gets thrown out of the window and into the next county.
Since when Microsoft is heroically fighting for human rights in China?

Stop that illusion, no Fortune 500 company with billions of dollars plans will stand up against Chinese politics. Some do it publicly, some doesn't. The so called "good guys" bothers me more since they think I am stupid.

If Ms gave me $800 million (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22613924)

I wouldn't exactly be complaining about it.

Re:If Ms gave me $800 million (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614050)

Mooooooooooo!

Who wouldnt be? (5, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22613936)

Getting paid $800 million i would gladly let Bill Gates rape my company anyday. Asking someone recently given that kind of money what they think is pretty useless.

Re:Who wouldnt be? (-1, Offtopic)

siyavash (677724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614022)

1. Speak about someone making money. ( "bad" )
2. Put the "Bill Gates" there somewhere.
3. Claim Bill does something horrible.
4. Post on Slashdot.
5. Get modded up!

Can't believe they modded your crap up. It's a new low, even for Slashdot. Seriously.

Re:Who wouldnt be? (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614120)

t's a new low, even for Slashdot. Seriously.

Get over yourself. Super duper seriously.

Actually, GP makes a good point, albeit in a slightly flamebait fashion. What exactly do you expect the CEO of a company that was recently acquired by the 800 lb gorilla of the IT industry to say, other than cozy, uplifting platitudes?

Re:Who wouldnt be? (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614030)

I'm looking forward to the day when we all work for and are citizens of Microsoft. No more worries about competition, wars, or being sued for using Linux.

Re:Who wouldnt be? (5, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614048)

Getting paid $800 million i would gladly let Bill Gates rape my company anyday
Hell, for $800 million dollars, I'd let him rape me! That's a statement he can stand behind.

Re:Who wouldnt be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614644)

Hell, for $800 million dollars, I'd let him rape me!
You know, technically it isn't rape if you let him.

Re:Who wouldnt be? (3, Funny)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614680)

For $800 million dollars, I'd put up a pretty convincing performance.

Re:Who wouldnt be? (4, Funny)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615048)

unless its like a settlement you get after the subsequent rape trial... You are correct though if you agree to the 800mil up front that makes you a high priced whore, not a rape victim.

Re:Who wouldnt be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615280)

potato pota... erf that doesn't work in comments

he doesn't even have to be lying (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614420)

You are right that they money counts, but the guy was probably rich anyway. He probably believes what he is saying. The thing he's not pointing out is that his was a friendly take over. That means that the board and management all the way down the line stay intact. Yahoo is a hostile takeover and that's going to be a nightmare. In this guys case, they clearly agreed with him and trust him. In the Yahoo case, they are automatically kicking out the top level and so will be changing the entire direction of the company. In Yahoo's case, they have to; as quickly as possible; put their own people in charge of everything. Just for the simple fact that the people at the bottom will realise that all their own projects and work are now threatened and will so many of them will hate Microsoft.

I think that; if this is the best example they can come up with then the entirety of Yahoo should now be preparing for total war on Microsoft. History says that you can't work with or even discuss with Microsoft. There are only two possibilities. Be submerged into Microsoft like this guy or alternatively fight them with all your energy. The middle road of doing your own thing whilst not giving in as taken by Lotus, Borland, Netscape etc. and now handset manufacturers like Ericsson and even to some extent Nokia leads to long term Extinction. The mistake Yahoo has made is that it should have invested more into Linux but at the same time try to make that investment untouchable by Microsoft. As many people as possible should be trying to get the Yahoo board to agree to relicence their work projects under the AGPLv3. Things which will not allow MS to close them down just in order to destroy them.

Re:Who wouldnt be? (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614618)

Asking someone recently given that kind of money

It's not the money. While I'm sure the recipient of that kind of money would be hesitant to comment negatively, the keyword here is recently.

Ten months into an acquisition and a company of Microsofts size has barely noticed it's got a new appendage. They probably haven't even finished connecting internal networks or handed out ID's, never mind hooking up finance and reporting systems.

See if 'anything's changed' in five years, once functional units have been merged into the mainstay and the real estate unit wonders why they have this expensive office in silicon valley, the culture unit has been briefed in the new culture is busy holding chairthrowing contests, and 'identity' is something you put in the corporate directory and 'identity management' deals with.

Re:Who wouldnt be? (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615184)

Exactly. You can't ask the new GM, you have to look at the employees and see how many left (or were replaced) since the takeover. If it's over 20%, there were a lot of problems.

Plus, I never understood why companies would buy the competition anyway. Yea, you can diversify, but this isn't diversifying. It's two companies that are underdogs combining hoping it will make a difference. Seems like wasted money unless the buyout leaves you a monopoly - which it certainly does not in this case. And Microsoft certainly doesn't need a cash cow. Just weird to me. I think MS is just bored and wants to buy something?

Re:Who wouldnt be? (1)

smitth1276 (832902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615928)

No, it isn't useless. Their opinion is INFINITELY more valuable than yours, which seems to be based solely on what you think will make you "cool" on slashdot. Oh, and 1996 called... they want anti-Microsoft hyperbole back.

previous co-founder? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22613942)

it's impossible to be a "previous co-founder" without a time machine. You're always the co-founder no matter if you're still with the company or not.

Re:previous co-founder? (1)

DeAgua (707093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614074)

I'm pretty sure that your tag should be:

Google's Super Secret Search Algorithm:

SELECT * FROM internet WHERE search_term = @search_term ORDER BY Popularity

Re:previous co-founder? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614142)

it was a direct quote from the Slashdot April Fools SQL on Rails story's video :P I know it makes no sense as an SQL statement :P

Yahoo by Microsoft. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22613956)

Yahoo by Microsoft will give Google lots of headache. It won't be named MicroWho? It's going to be Yahoo by Microsoft..... YAHMic!

Drink the kool-aid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22613962)

You'll like it. we swear.

Tellme? (5, Funny)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22613972)

Tellme is so popular I had to Google them to find out WTF they do.

Either that or I live under a rock...

Re:Tellme (2, Informative)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614072)

I dunno about popular.
But I know of them, because part of their service line is to do Directory Assistance matches which gleefully tells you they are "powered by Tellme".

You know who else lives under a rock? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614288)

Osama, is that you?

Re:Tellme? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614514)

I was a tellme early adopter. They lied and cheated, and I went elsewhere. Ant this was before Win 3.1 AFAICR.

I still have the documents somewhere, in case I ever get round to suing them. They are in the same league as Zango, and 180 solutions.

Re:Tellme? (1)

hab136 (30884) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614606)

I was a tellme early adopter. They lied and cheated, and I went elsewhere. Ant this was before Win 3.1 AFAICR.

Care to elaborate?

Re:Tellme? (2, Informative)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615010)

It was a very long time ago, but the essence of it was that they claimed to be a low cost ISP, with free bundled modem. When in fact the modem was a lame 2400 baud thing when I was already operating 56k, and the "internet" they offered was a walled garden, which you could easily break out of, but if you did, you were billed at a hideous rate without warning, so that I ended up with huge bills.

In short, their business model relied on deceptive practices, and overcharging. I recall endless bills for things which I had just clicked on, and was unaware would cost me.

I was not young and naieve, but came from a background of Usenet and Fidonet, and saw no reason why this stuff should be chargeable.

Cancellation was a chargeable offence too: you were tied to a lengthy contract.

Re:Tellme? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615066)

Are you talking about http://www.tellme.com/ [tellme.com] ?

They seem to have started in 1998 which is well after Windows 3.1.

Re:Tellme? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615138)

Well, now that I know Microsoft took over Tellme it explains why I get random errors that break me out to the main menu now.

Give up Flickr (1, Funny)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22613990)

I will give up my Flickr account the moment MS takes over Yahoo. That'll teach them!

Re:Give up Flickr (1)

jzhos (1043516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614036)

right, they will be so scared.

Re:Give up Flickr (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614080)

But seriously, what else can I do to make them know I don't like their deal? I just want to have as little to do with MS as possible.

Re:Give up Flickr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614198)

Write a letter to your state's congress person....cause we all know that does a lot of good

Re:Give up Flickr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614342)

Well if you vote in Osama Hussein as President we can make a change LOL

The 'Borg' icon really makes sense (2, Insightful)

giminy (94188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614002)

This is the first time in a long time that the borg icon for MS makes entirely too much sense...you will be assimilated, etc.

McCue has no direct connections to Yahoo (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614076)

> Tellme founder and previous Yahoo co-founder, Mike McCue hasn't spoken to past-partner Jerry Yang

This is wrong. McCue has no direct connections to Yahoo in his past. He founded Paper Software which was purchased by Netscape where he stayed on as a VP. He eventually started Tellme Networks with Angus Davis in 1999. Prior to Paper I believe he was at IBM.

Biased (4, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614098)

I'm not saying that the guy is biased but let's just think about this for a second. Anyone who've agreed to be bought by Microsoft has already found Microsoft to be a good match. In other words, if Microsoft wasn't a good match, the deal would have never gone through and we wouldn't have this article. It's kind of like asking a bunch of BMW owners what they think of BMWs. Most of them would have positive things to say, especially the new owners (which is similar in this case). To get an accurate picture we need to ask those who turned down Microsoft why did they turn them down as well as those who accepted the offer.

To be fair, many of my coworkers are former Microsoft employees and most of them did have positive things to say about the work environment. Obviously, it wasn't the end all and be all of places since they did leave after all.

Re:Biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614256)

No doubt having Microsoft pay you is a lot better than having to pay them to use their crappy products.

Re:Biased (5, Insightful)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614282)

Isn't the he an employee of Microsoft?
Surely he would be a brave person to bite the hand that feeds him... especially such a big hand, attached to a long arm at that.

Re:Biased (1)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614504)

Ah yes, but Microsoft's hand has it's fingers in a lot of pies, so it would be tasty to bite. Which means that umm..

Wait, what were we talking about?

Re:Biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614916)

This has got be in the running for the Homer Simpson Comment of the year award. Of course to make it more true to homer and not just some random animated television dolt. You should have written it as follows:

Ah yes, but Microsoft's hand has it's fingers in a lot of pies, so it would be tasty to bite. Hmm, oh yes, so many taste pies.

Umm, what where we talking about?

Phophecy (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614532)

I like your comparison, and would like to use it as a source of causation!

I really like my BMW. It turns 13 (and 160k) soon. We've only been together for about three short years -- far longer than a lot of tech companies ever last, but it's a very short time in BMW years. Since the acquisition, this car has taught me much, such as:

1. How to countersteer. I thought I'd already known how to countersteer from my years of driving a Firebird, which was loose like a two-dollar whore. I've since learned that all that an American car can teach is how to handle slight corrections at relatively low speeds, since they suffer from such comparatively lousy handling. By the time I get the rear end of the 325i to break loose, I find that the car is invariably either going sideways into oncoming traffic down a rain-slicked hill at 50MPH, or headed sideways toward a concrete wall at more than 80MPH. It is thus a far better teacher than the Firebird, and this makes me an even more attentive and alert student. (Though I swear that my beard grows another grey hair every time it decides that I've got something new to learn.)

2. Thou Shalt Not use Aftermarket Pads and Rotors, lest Thou shall Suffer Interminable Brake Squeal, and Lo, heads will Turn.

3. Driving and working on the BMW is a lot like operating a UNIX box in that the car, like UNIX, is perfect. If something isn't going right, it's obviously because I've done something wrong. It might seem to the lay person that the rear shock mounts, which were plainly designed to rip themselves apart, and the alarmingly-expensive-to-fix/astoundingly-expensive-to-prevent way in which the differential may exit vehicle (!) while ripping a huge hole in the sheet metal that it bolts to, but make no mistake. These seemingly faulty items do not detract from the pure and honest perfection in which it was created. And, much like ksh, more, yacc, and dd's stupidly unique command line syntax, these characteristics do defy any clear explanation as to why they exist. But the Lord works in mysterious ways, as they say, and I think it's just God's will that one become proficient at fixing the rear end of an E36 BMW, just as one should spend some months trapped in ksh (instead of bash) while using more (instead of less) in order to fully appreciate all the simple beauty that life offers every day.

Based on this, I'd like to conclude, based on my experience as a BMW owner, that a Microsoft buyout of Yahoo would entail the following:

1. Microsoft will learn from its younger acquisition how to start with a simple and universally popular resource, and then turn it busy and hideous, only to simplify it again, before finally letting just some of the bloat back in, just like yahoo.com. This plainly suggests that, with Yahoo's teachings, whatever follows Vista is sure to be an improvement. Unless they manage to turn themselves into a sausage creature [latexnet.org] first.

2. Clearly, this means that Yahoo will continue to run FreeBSD (however dead it may be) instead of some incarnation of Windows, lest the noise of grinding metal deafen all who bear witness.

3. Since BMWs are like UNIX, and UNIX is like FreeBSD, then all of these are perfect. However, if Microsoft is to Windows as Yahoo is to FreeBSD, then Windows must also be perfect. This part obviously should NOT be permitted to transpire; A perfect incarnation of Windows would create a time rift with a strong likelihood of sending us all back to the stone age. It's shameful that the EU seems to be rather impotent against Microsoft, because the US sure isn't going to do anything even AFTER Diebold gives the next election to McCain.

Which means, in conclusion, that we're fucked. In the event of a Microsoft-Yahoo buyout, please collect your cyanide tablet by the door on your way out. Thank you.

(Aren't you glad you used a car analogy on Slashdot?)

Re:Biased (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614616)

Conversely, anyone that doesn't agree to be bought by Microsoft knows that if they want your technology bad enough, they will just clone it. Citrix -> Terminal Services, Netscape -> Internet Explorer and IIS, Oracle -> SQL Server. They might not succeed, but in either case you're facing competition and uncertainty just by saying no.

Re:Biased (2, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615074)

While I think you're point is generally correct SQL Server has little to do with Oracle. SQL Server is instread the poster child for why you never partner with M$ on a development project. M$ licensed Sybase for the core of SQL Server and the two oranization agreed to continue to share code. Now M$ went and spent all their engergy doing things very tightly coupled to Windows and therfore not useful to the cross platform Sybase product.

They then marketed SQL Server more agressively and cheaper, sucking up all the oxygen as per usual. This has turned Sybase into pretty much a legacy vendor like Novell without Suse. Really its kinda similar to Windows and OS/2.

Re:Biased (2, Insightful)

dirk (87083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615082)

While it's true that he may be biased, asking people who have turned down MS won't tell you anything, because they have no knowledge of what happens when MS buys you. What this guy is trying to get across (for either his own personal reasons or as an MS employee)is that a lot of the fears and FUD you hear about MS taking over a company (they will just fire everyone and keep the tech, they will totally assimilate you and change your culture, they will just buy you and bury your tech and push theirs, etc)are not true. Asking someone who didn't get taken over by MS what MS does when they take someone over is just silly, as they don't know. If you want to know if something is true, you ask people who have been through it, not someone who avoided it because of the rumours.

Maybe, Maybe Not (4, Insightful)

OakLEE (91103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614104)

While I think a good segment of Yahoo's workforce won't have to worry so much, an acquisition like this is not going to happen without dead weight being trimmed off.

Assuming the merger occurs Microsoft, regardless of its promises, will have to start integrating Yahoo into MSN or vice versa. It would make no sense to run two competing operations under one roof. Thus we can safely assume that either MSN or Yahoo's upper management are toast, unless Microsoft is completely idiotic and wants to integrate the two, which would create all sorts of loyalty and corporate culture conflicts.

After management, who gets fired next depends on what Microsoft is buying Yahoo for.

If you believe what Microsoft says, it is buying Yahoo for engineering talent, then most of the Yahoo's content departments become redundant and will be eliminated, while the engineers and IT people stay.

If you believe that Microsoft is buying Yahoo because MSN's content is shit poor, then the content people are safe. The engineers and IT people become redundant as Yahoo moves over to a Microsoft-based back end. (For those who think that's impossible, remember that Microsoft moved Hotmail from BSD to Windows 2k with relative efficiency.)

If you believe (as I do) that Microsoft is buying Yahoo for its account/user base, then every employee at Yahoo is conceivably expendable since the value in Yahoo would lie in one of its raw assets (users) and not in the organizational structure of the company itself. Buying solely for the user accounts, would obviate the need for Yahoo as an entity.

Regardless of how you view it though, Yahoo as a completely separate and intact operation under the Microsoft umbrella is impossible just because it competes on a lot of fronts with MSN, and unless Microsoft's plan involves completely dismantling its MSN unit, some consolidation of the two is going to have to occur.

Re:Maybe, Maybe Not (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614140)

Not entirely true...AOL Messenger and ICQ come to mind, though your probably right that the userbase is the real objective.

Re:Maybe, Maybe Not (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615282)

Not entirely true...AOL Messenger and ICQ come to mind, though your probably right that the userbase is the real objective.
People giving up ICQ didn't move to AIM, they moved to MSN Messenger. So AOL basically lost users to Microsoft.

Microsoft-Yahoo? People will move to Google and hosting (with services) will move to Amazon.

My "Yahoo mail" account was acquired in 1998, I know the exact time since I cancelled my Hotmail account right after MS bought them. The day this deal works, I am packing and going to somewhere else. Lots of people thinking exactly what I think and I am sure Yahoo lost users just by this "proposed deal" in the news. If it actually happens, they better tell their FreeBSD servers to prefetch deluser command ;)

Re:Maybe, Maybe Not (2, Insightful)

norbac (1113477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614148)

Assuming the merger occurs Microsoft, regardless of its promises, will have to start integrating Yahoo into MSN or vice versa. It would make no sense to run two competing operations under one roof.

Not really. In the end all they want is online advertising. It may make sense to adopt a single advertising platform, but keep both properties (MSN, Yahoo) separate to appeal to the broadest possible audience.

Re:Maybe, Maybe Not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614732)

It would make no sense to run two competing operations under one roof.

Sure it does, as long as Microsoft can build a critical mass in the ad busines to compete effectively against Google.

Re:Maybe, Maybe Not (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614956)

If you believe (as I do) that Microsoft is buying Yahoo for its account/user base, then every employee at Yahoo is conceivably expendable since the value in Yahoo would lie in one of its raw assets (users) and not in the organizational structure of the company itself. Buying solely for the user accounts, would obviate the need for Yahoo as an entity.

That may be foolish, because one reason I use Yahoo! is that it is not Microsoft, and if acquired, I will leave Yahoo! like I would avoid a leper.

Re:Maybe, Maybe Not (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615760)

While I don't doubt that this is true for you and a number of Slashdot folks, I'd be seriously surprised if over 1% of Yahoo!'s userbase would jump ship over it.

(Now, if Microsoft changed a bunch of stuff that they liked about Yahoo! thereafter, that's another story.)

Re:Maybe, Maybe Not (2, Informative)

Mark_in_Brazil (537925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615026)

If you believe that Microsoft is buying Yahoo because MSN's content is shit poor, then the content people are safe. The engineers and IT people become redundant as Yahoo moves over to a Microsoft-based back end. (For those who think that's impossible, remember that Microsoft moved Hotmail from BSD to Windows 2k with relative efficiency.)
I agree with the parent post in general, and even this point isn't bad, except for the "relative efficiency" part, even with the built-in "relative" disclaimer. Not only were there problems with the migration to Win2K (including a statement in 2001 that the migration had been completed, which was later retracted), but we also have to remember that Microsoft tried really hard to migrate Hotmail to Windows NT and failed. Microsoft acquired HoTMaiL in 1997, but couldn't migrate to NT at all, and only managed to make the Win2K migration 4 years after the acquisition. Since Microsoft had stated publicly that Hotmail was going to be migrated to NT, it's pretty easy to look at the whole story and say "ouch."

I remember reading some internet columnist talking about the failed NT migration in 1999 or so, and I just found a description with references at the Wikipedia page on Hotmail. Specifically, the development history [wikipedia.org] part and in the footnotes [wikipedia.org] .

It occurs to me now that Microsoft must have really believed the NT migration would not be hard, or the public statements about it before it was done would not have been made. The recent internal Microsoft e-mail exchange about the meaning of "Vista Ready" shows me that there are still a lot of decision-makers at Microsoft who really don't understand where their product sits in technical terms. They know its market position, but they don't appear know the real technical differences between Windows and other OSes.

Re:Maybe, Maybe Not (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616150)

I remember reading some internet columnist talking about the failed NT migration in 1999 or so, and I just found a description with references at the Wikipedia page on Hotmail. Specifically, the development history part and in the footnotes.

I knew the OP's comment was rubbish, but it didn't occur to me that Wikipedia had a page devoted to the subject. Thanks for the heads up.

For anyone who hasn't seen the Wiki page, it's an interesting read. Even more interesting is the information cited in the footnotes. Admittedly, much of it is "old" history, but not so old as not to be relevant in any discussion involving Microsoft or their technology.

relative is ... well ... relative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22616410)

The engineers and IT people become redundant as Yahoo moves over to a Microsoft-based back end. (For those who think that's impossible, remember that Microsoft moved Hotmail from BSD to Windows 2k with relative efficiency.)

Never happened. Each time M$ tried, they got their noses rubbed in the pathetic insufficiency of their cruftware publicly :
http://www.pcw.co.uk/vnunet/news/2113313/hotmail-finally-move-windows [pcw.co.uk] x
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/12/12/microsoft_hotmail_still_runs/ [theregister.co.uk]
http://www.geek.com/ms-and-unisys-dont-use-unix-except-now/ [geek.com]

M$ set the server identification strings to say IIS and beyond that stopped trying to fool people about that years ago and hopes everyone just forgets.

Though just maybe the weasel word there is "relative". So yeah, on an absolute level it had its pants pulled down and was pushed over in front of a bunch of laughing girls, but relatively speaking (for M$) it went well.

Smart MSFT would wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614124)

Smart MSFT would wait. It seems like the bubble of add financed companies is deflating.

Mike McCue did not co-found Yahoo (5, Informative)

disassembled (977342) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614164)

Mike McCue is not a co-founder of Yahoo. Prior to starting Tellme in 1999, he founded a company called Paper Software, which was subsequently bought by Netscape, but he was never directly involved with Yahoo.

The article is admittedly ambiguous about this point--it introduces Jerry Yang as a co-founder of Yahoo, and in the process, it inadvertently implies that he co-founded it with McCue.

Re:Mike McCue did not co-found Yahoo (1)

aguenter (1060008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614264)

"Tellme founder and previous Yahoo co-founder, Mike McCue hasn't spoken to past-partner Jerry Yang since the Microsoft takeover bid for Yahoo..."

There's nothing ambiguous or implied in the way that sentence is structured. It pretty clearly states him as being a co-founder of Yahoo.

You could make the argument of implication if it read "Tellme founder Mike McCue hasn't spoken to past-partner and previous Yahoo co-founder, Jerry Yang, since the Microsoft takeover bid for Yahoo..."

Re:Mike McCue did not co-found Yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614284)

The summary clearly states he "previously" was a co-founder of Yahoo. Obviously he isn't a co-founder any more. I was actually kinda wondering what that meant myself until you cleared it up.

Interesting aspect (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614216)

But this seems to indicate that the bid on Yahoo was far below what it should have been.

Maybe this means that the bid on Yahoo should have been $400 billion instead.

But they should also consider the fact that a company is strongly depending on it's employees, and this means that if enough employees disagrees they just leaves and the purchase will be an empty shell.

800 million.... (4, Insightful)

seifried (12921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614240)

For 800 million dollars I'd be willing to tell people pretty much anything about how great MSFT is.

I wouldn't be so cavalier about it (2, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614286)

You know, there are hundreds of hungry VPs in Redmond and they have buddies who they might not mind seeing in Tellme's general manager seat. They're a lot better connected than he is.

Oblig Simpsons quote (4, Funny)

RSevrinsky (10305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614314)

Moe: [slowly] It's not so bad, Homer. They...go in through your
                      nose and...they let you keep the piece of brain they cut out.
                      Look!
                        [holds up a jar with a piece of brain in it]
                      Ooh! Hello! Hello there! Who's that big man there? Who's
                      that?
Bart+Lisa: [droning] Join us, father.
        Marge: [droning] It's bliiiissss...
        Homer: Nooo!

- "Treehouse of Horror V"

Tell me what the hell is Tellme ... (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614398)

I had never heard of this $800 million company, so I immediately visited their website http://www.tellme.com/ [tellme.com] .

Actually, that's a lie, after watching Flash load their site for about 30 seconds (on a 4 Meg broadband connection) I gave up.

Can someone please tell me what this Tellme thing is please.

Re:Tell me what the hell is Tellme ... (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614496)

It took me less than 3 seconds on my 20 Meg connection, so you need to chat to your broadband provider.

Not that you were missing much, mind - the website is pretty vague. Looks like directions/locations/directory services.

Re:Tell me what the hell is Tellme ... (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616392)

It took me less than 3 seconds on my 20 Meg connection

20 MB/s unfortunately is prohibitively expensive for an individual - and probably most businesses, considering that 85% of all businesses have a gross revenue of less than £100,000 per annum - in most of the world.

Tell Me again why I should care about a company whose message has been made unavailable to me through the needless use of bandwidth.
Or perhaps that's what their business is really doing - in my day they called that churn and it's already been shown to be a failed business model !

Re:Tell me what the hell is Tellme ... (1)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22616676)

Except it's 20Mbps, not 20MBps, and it's only 5 times faster than yours, and it only costs me £35 per month.

Seeing as you're using pounds, not dollars, you must be oblivious [virginmedia.com] to the speeds available in your own country.

Re:Tell me what the hell is Tellme ... (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614706)

30 seconds on an 8Mbit connection got me slowly up to 35% and then I bailed out. Whetever they do, they need to fire their Web designer and/or hosting company

Re:Tell me what the hell is Tellme ... (1)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 6 years ago | (#22614884)

Apparently, they are a

provider of voice services for everyday life, including nationwide directory assistance, enterprise customer service and voice-enabled mobile search.
because

[...] [they] and Microsoft share a common vision around the limitless potential of voice as a way to find information, connect with people and enhance business processes, any time and from any device.

`the limitless potential of voice as a way to find information'... whoever wrote that should be chaired.

Re:Tell me what the hell is Tellme ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22615532)

No problem. Tellme basically engineers -- and provides -- an entire platform (read: servers, hardware, and software) dedicated to bonding computers with the telephone. Tellme handles all the voice recognition, grammar analysis, telco (mostly VoIP but there are some TDM pieces left), VXML, and customer server interaction (whether it be via HTTP, CTI, or IBM MQ -- doesn't matter) pieces that allow that to happen. The VXML and reco pieces are probably the most important.

The easiest way to explain it:

Using FedEx as a real example: when you call 800-PICK-UPS or 800-GO-FEDEX, from the moment you dial the last digit to the time you hang up, you're using Tellme's platform. When you say "track a package", there's a whole ton of stuff that goes on behind the scenes to make it possible so you can get details of your package over the phone. All that "magic" is what Tellme provides, so that FedEx doesn't have to.

You can call 800-555-TELL if you want to get an idea of what the platform is capable of on a *very* basic level.

Make sense? :-)

MS acquired Tellme in 2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22614612)

Make another interview ten years from now and it would actually be relevant.

Difference between Yahoo and MS (2, Insightful)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615266)

(Thanks to a hotmail victim friend)

Safari 3 on OS X Leopard:

Hotmail: "This is hotmail light version, to get all hotmail features upgrade to Internet Explorer 6"
Yahoo: "Yahoo mail beta works with Safari 3 now!"

That is the difference between MS and Yahoo.

cliff notes version. (1)

eshefer (12336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22615534)

brief summery of the text:

"I, for one, welcome our new redmondian overlords. You should too"
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