Friday, February 01, 2008

We! Haven't! Thought! This! Through!

So almost the entire world has exploded with news that Microsoft haven't bought Yahoo!, but are at least waving ridiculous amounts of TEH CAHS under the noses of the shareholders. But what would be the outcome of such a takeover? Microsoft and Yahoo! are in pretty much the same position, they both have technologically acceptable "online presence" services which are marketed really badly such that a competitor virtually owns the market. The only example of a service between them I can think of which is vaguely market-leading is Flickr, although Yahoo! Groups (which was eGroups) might still be popular, I expect that Facebook and Google groups are at least comparable, if not larger than it. Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail are both familiar names, but then online mail is now a free and worthless commodity, and everyone has been playing catchup with Gmail for the last couple of years. People don't "Windows Live Search" a thing, they "Google" it. People don't "Yahoo! Video" their dogs on skateboards, they "Youtube" them.

So the post-acquisition world would go from two implementations to one, but one that's still being marketed into the ground and with a few fewer workers. And all the transitional pain that Microsoft will impose on Yahoo! services, when someone remembers that FreeBSD isn't a Microsoft solution. M$ seem to be of the opinion that with a market they don't lead and $45Bn, the best approach is to lose the $45Bn and hire some other people who don't lead the market. Not, like, take that $45Bn and make their stuff better.

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