Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Microsoft Buying Yahoo?

I've felt strongly for a number of years that Microsoft has to make some bold strategic acquisitions. My family were all Kodak employees at one point or another. The Kodak Lesson, for me, is that high margin, high market share companies suffer from the same disease: no one wants to kill the the golden goose. Risk adverse, they let the market and more innovative companies (and technologies) pass them by. Kodak is a great example of this- my Dad told me a story that he saw a prototype of a Kodak branded 3 megapixel digital camera in 1982- they shelved it because it was a threat to the film business.

Microsoft has exhibited a lot of these risk adverse, self defeating behaviors. However, along with the rumors that they were going to invest in Facebook, this might be good news...

From StrategyEye this morning:
Microsoft is rumoured to be considering making a public offer for Yahoo! if it isn't successful in its bid for a Facebook stake, according to the New York Post. The Murdoch-owned US paper claims that the software giant has thought about bidding publicly for the search engine for some months, after former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel rebuffed all efforts to buy the company. It was hoped a public offer could stimulate shareholder interest, which would in turn put pressure on the management of the search giant to sell. Microsoft has USD21bn in cash available to spend, and is reportedly in talks with Facebook to acquire a stake in the social network, which Microsoft values at USD10bn. But, the New York newspaper claims, it is not willing to buy into both the social network and the search engine, given that it has already spent USD6bn this year buying aQuantive, and so is currently weighing up the two acquisition options.
On the other hand, the cynical angel on my shoulder asks, "so how long would it take to integrate Microsoft and Yahoo, fifty years or so?"

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