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Microsoft Bids $44.6 Billion For Yahoo 784

Posted by kdawson
from the big-deal dept.
The news is everywhere this morning about Microsoft's $44.6B offer to buy Yahoo. The offer represents $31 a share, a 62% premium over Thursday's closing price; and Yahoo's stock price has been rising in after-hours trading. Microsoft has been making overtures to Yahoo since 2006, according to the CNet article, including a buyout offer last February that was rebuffed. Mediapost.com has some perspective on the deal from the point of view of ads and eyeballs. Such an acquisition, which would be Microsoft's largest by far — it bought Aquantive last year for $6 billion — would need approval by US and EU authorities. A European Commission spokesman declined to comment.
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Microsoft Bids $44.6 Billion For Yahoo

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  • Very odd (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l-ascorbic (200822) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:03AM (#22260218)
    Seems so unlikely to ever be allowed by the regulators, yet they're willing to throw billions at it anyway. They must feel confident for some reason.
    • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Insightful)

      by crispi (131688) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:06AM (#22260254)
      Well if you can't build a good search engine of your own, just buy one.

      In fact just like about everything MS has ever done (eg SQL, IE, PowerPoint ...)
      • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slash d o t . f i renzee.com> on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:18AM (#22260400) Homepage
        And most of those products went down hill in various ways after being bought...
      • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ilgaz (86384) * on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:24AM (#22260480) Homepage

        Well if you can't build a good search engine of your own, just buy one.

        In fact just like about everything MS has ever done (eg SQL, IE, PowerPoint ...)
        Yahoo's power and success comes from multi platform awareness, using right tools for job without caring about what OS it runs (mostly FreeBSD), giving the same service to everyone with a recent browser regardless of OS, being open to all developers even including competitors...

        I checked Live.com the day it was announced. When it bitched about not using IE (when I tried to login my passport account) , I never visited it back. That is what makes every MS attempt unsuccessful. They can't live with the fact that there is a thing called HTML standard, TCPIP standard and Internet is platform neutral from beginning. They use every opportunity to alienate other OS/Browser users.

        I could never see Yahoo as a great search engine although it seems spammers/blackhats/SEO junk targets them less. For the record, Google has always been a spammer heaven for me too.
        • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Funny)

          by dintech (998802) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:42AM (#22260678)

          Google has always been a spammer heaven for me too
          Everyone knows spammers don't go to heaven.
        • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MECC (8478) on Friday February 01, 2008 @11:07AM (#22261094)

          Yahoo's power and success comes from multi platform awareness,

          For the most part, yes, but the yahoo IM client differs significantly in capability and support from platform to platform.

          I checked Live.com the day it was announced. When it bitched about not using IE (when I tried to login my passport account) , I never visited it back. That is what makes every MS attempt unsuccessful. They can't live with the fact that there is a thing called HTML standard, TCPIP standard and Internet is platform neutral from beginning. They use every opportunity to alienate other OS/Browser users.

          If ms does get yahoo, they may find that their desktop monopoly won't help them leverage crap as it has for all the other products they've bought and downgraded. The Internet is turf foreign to their business model and corporate mindset, and buying yahoo won't change that. As if anything could. If this deal goes through, yahoo goes down.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Firehed (942385)
          Not that I'm defending MS for it, but it's easy to expect as much when a software company expands into the services market. Both Google and Yahoo have been services companies from the beginning. It's in their best interest to make them available to as many people as possible, as they're effectively treating their free services as a loss leader to bring in money from their other services (which is to say that searching is free but they profit, at no cost to you, when you click on an ad).

          Microsoft, OTOH, st
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by yog (19073) *
        So what's your point? Most companies start by buying some existing work; very few invent something completely new. Dell didn't invent the PC, nor did Compaq, nor did HP. Apple didn't invent the windowing GUI.

        Microsoft is smart. They did not get where they are by being idiots. If they think Yahoo is worth $46B to them, I'm inclined to believe it. On the other hand, it might be that Google has been mulling an investment in Yahoo and Mr Softy just wanted to prevent that scary thing from happening.

        It make
        • Re:Very odd (Score:4, Insightful)

          by rbanffy (584143) on Friday February 01, 2008 @11:45AM (#22261686) Homepage Journal
          Sorry to burst your bubble, but:

          - Dell pretty much invented the large-scale direct sales built-to-order PC business.
          - Compaq did invent the PC-compatible - different enough not to get sued out of existence, similar enough it runs the same software
          - HP did invent a lot of stuff in the personal computer arena
          - Apple did invent lots of stuff in the GUI arena. Have you seen Smalltalk 80 and how Lisa is different from that?

          Microsoft did invent a lot too. It's unfair to judge the value of all company's contributions by its current delinquent behaviour (the one you call "smart").
        • or maybe I should say 'not so nicely'. Yahoo has stolen as much as any company out there. I remember the ladder system they used for Yahoo games that they decided to replace lock, stock and barrel with their own, eerily similar, ladder system. There are plenty of other examples of Yahoo partnering with a third party all the way until they have their own in place. I'm not saying they're evil, just that they are not without their own moral grey areas.
    • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeroenb (125404) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:07AM (#22260260) Homepage
      Considering that internet search and online advertising are exactly the places they don't dominate, I don't see why regulators would object.
      • by fictionpuss (1136565) * on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:12AM (#22260344)
        Considering that internet search and online advertising are exactly the places they don't dominate, I don't see why regulators would object.

        Maybe, but the possibility of there only being two [hitwise.com] main search engines out there, with the next largest competitor Ask.com at a paltry 4.1%, is fairly scary.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Azul (12241)

          Maybe, but the possibility of there only being two main search engines out there, with the next largest competitor Ask.com at a paltry 4.1%, is fairly scary.


          How is that any different from there only being two [hitwise.com] main search engines out there, with the next largest competitor MSN at a paltry 5.33%?
      • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday February 01, 2008 @11:23AM (#22261326)
        Because they *do* dominate the desktop, the place from which internet search and online advertising is done from. And they have a legal history of abusing that monopoly to try to gain market advantage in other areas. "Google? You don't want that. Redirecting page request to www.yahoo.com."
    • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:10AM (#22260304)

      Seems so unlikely to ever be allowed by the regulators, yet they're willing to throw billions at it anyway. They must feel confident for some reason.

      If they allowed Google and Doubleclick, they'll probably allow this too. This doesn't give anyone a monopoly or anything close to it, since Google's still #1 in search.

      The question is, how long until MS feels compelled to screw up Yahoo like Hotmail?

    • Now I'll be able to get my Britney Spears fix from one source instead of two.
    • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Interesting)

      by coolmoose25 (1057210) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:12AM (#22260332)
      Actually, I don't think regulators would have a huge problem with this... Clearly the big guy on the block is Google at this point... Microsoft and Yahoo joining forces makes sense from a competitive point of view... Let's face it, MSN sucks, it has always sucked, and so it is a good merger from a business perspective too. The only thing I worry about here is if Yahoo just sort of "melts" under Microsoft's ownership, the same way Excite did when it got bought.
      • Re:Very odd (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slash d o t . f i renzee.com> on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:20AM (#22260426) Homepage
        Well Yahoo, like hotmail, run all their stuff on FreeBSD...
        You can bet yahoo would go the same way, migrating to windows, spending a ridiculous amount on new hardware and suffering significant problems in the process.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by zrq (794138)

          Is this kind of merger a good argument for releasing server side software under the GNU [gnu.org] Affero GPL [wikipedia.org] ? If these services were using software licensed under something like the GNU Affero GPL, then a company like Microsoft wouldn't be able to go near them.

          I know the argument against this form of license is that large players like IBM, Sun and Google would not want to use them, so the projects wo

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by recoiledsnake (879048)

            Is this kind of merger a good argument for releasing server side software under the GNU Affero GPL ? If these services were using software licensed under something like the GNU Affero GPL, then a company like Microsoft wouldn't be able to go near them.
            Uhh. WTF? How will the Affero GPL prevent migration from FreeBSD/PHP to Win2k3/ASP.NET ?
      • Re:Very odd (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:22AM (#22260452) Journal

        The only thing I worry about here is if Yahoo just sort of "melts" under Microsoft's ownership, the same way Excite did when it got bought.
        "melts"... or "is extinguished"?

        Maybe I'm stuck in the past, but I can't shake the feeling that MS is more interested in narrowing the competitive field than in acquiring Yahoo properties -- though search is something they could use Yahoo's help with.
    • Love vs. Hate (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ablair (318858) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:51AM (#22260832)
      For a heavy internet user like me, this news comes as a crisis of conscience. Having been a loyal Yahoo! Mail user for over a decade (the world's largest webmail service), and having so much of my online presence on Yahoo's comprehensive services - Contacts, Flickr, online document storage, Messenger, Y!Finance, Groups, (the list is endless) - I am obvioulsy deeply loyal to an independent Yahoo! ...But one reason that I've allowed Yahoo! to gradually become such an important part of my life is that it's NOT Microsoft. The same sentiments are felt by millions: will loyalty to a very useful Yahoo! be enough to overcome our distaste for Microsoft and the inevitable changes a takeover will entail? This is not insignificant nor a "religious platform issue" - note how Hotmail has fallen from #1 spot in email users after the MS takeover, for example. Yahoo! webmail alone reportedly accounts for 255 million of the world's 543 million webmail accounts, and webmail is only one of a vast range of internet & open source items Yahoo! is involved in.

      Yahoo News itself is reporting this as a hostile takeover [yahoo.com], but seemingly with Microsoft willing to pay such a large premium, one that will be hard to resist. It's interesting that Microsoft is willing to use up almost all of it's cash reserves for this takeover, largely sacrificing it's flexibility to make strategic investments in the future. But from the perspective of Yahoo! users the more important question is whether a MS takeover will turn Yahoo! into tepid porridge? And will the long, slow decline of Microsoft now drag Yahoo! down too?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by crush (19364)
        For me the immediate worry is that Yahoo's developers will be pulled off neat projects like YUI [yahoo.com]. Yes, it's BSD licensed so it'd be possible for other people to continue it, but Yahoo! have hired some awesome people and allowed them to do good work in this area. I'd hate it if Microsoft got to kill off a good department because it competed with Silverlight or whatever .NET crap they way to push tomorrow.
    • The press & people here seem to think this is no big deal because MS Search is pathetic and Yahoo Search is nowhere as popular as it used to be, at a distant #2 in the market. But who cares about Search? The real value in this deal for Microsoft is in the armada of Yahoo! services and online advertising properties. 88% of Yahoo! revenues come from marketing services; it's also the world's largest webmail service (one of may services). It is involved in a vast range or internet technologies, standards gr
  • by 1sockchuck (826398) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:05AM (#22260244) Homepage
    A consolidation of the Microsoft and Yahoo networks could shift a massive amount of infrastructure from open source technologies to Microsoft platforms.Microsoft said that "eliminating redundant infrastructure and duplicative operating costs will improve the financial performance of the combined entity." Yahoo has been a major player in several open soruce projects. Most of Yahoo's infrastructure runs on FreeBSD, and the lead developer of PHP, Rasmus Lerdorf, works as an engineer at Yahoo. Yahoo has also been a major contributor to Hadoop, an open source technology for distributed computing. Data Center Knowledge [datacenterknowledge.com] has more on the infrastructure implications.
    • by Constantine XVI (880691) <[trash.eighty+slashdot] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:13AM (#22260364)
      Don't forget they also own Zimbra, an OSS Outlook/Exchange competitor
      • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday February 01, 2008 @01:04PM (#22263006) Homepage Journal

        Don't forget they also own Zimbra, an OSS Outlook/Exchange competitor
        Zimbra was never really an open source player to begin with. They have an open source crippleware version, partially for street cred and partially so they could help themselves to the postfix/mysql/cyrus underpinnings upon which they built their product.

        Anyone who has deployed Zimbra knows that if you want the product to actually be useful you have to buy the closed-source "Network Edition." This is precisely what Microsoft would shut down. Microsoft is eager to kill Exchange competitors. They've done it before -- look at how they immediately shut down the now-defunct Hula project once they began pulling the strings at Novell.

        If you want open source email and groupware, you should deploy open source email and groupware. The prime contender in this space right now is Citadel [citadel.org], which is 100 percent GPL. End to end. No exceptions, no tiers, no strings, no gimmicks. Similar in spirit to the Ubuntu Linux distribution, the project's very best work is made available to everyone on the same terms.
    • by dotancohen (1015143) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:19AM (#22260416) Homepage
      Actually, I'd bet that the only reason that MS is buying Yahoo is to finally get Rasmus Lerdorf working for them. You know, since they can't exactly get Linus or RMS very easily.
  • Yahoo confirmed that it has received an unsolicited offer and said that its board would evaluate the proposal, "carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo's strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders."

    Judging by this blurb, I think the answer is going to be a big, fat yes.
  • Pirate Bay (Score:5, Funny)

    by rdradar (1110795) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:06AM (#22260258)
    Now MS should bid for Pirate Bay [torrentcentral.net] aswell!
  • by C0deJunkie (309293) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:07AM (#22260264) Homepage Journal
    With an astonishing 62% premium price of its current stock price, Microsoft sent this proposal to the Yahoo! Board of Directors. Here's the . Actually, part of the premium price is explainable by the [microsoft.com] recent sunk [techcrunch.com] of Yahoo! stock.

    January 31, 2008

    Board of Directors
    Yahoo! Inc.
    701 First Avenue
    Sunnyvale, CA 94089
    Attention: Roy Bostock, Chairman
    Attention: Jerry Yang, Chief Executive Officer

    Dear Members of the Board:

    I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of Microsoft to make a proposal for a business combination of Microsoft and Yahoo!. Under our proposal, Microsoft would acquire all of the outstanding shares of Yahoo! common stock for per share consideration of $31 based on Microsoft's closing share price on January 31, 2008, payable in the form of $31 in cash or 0.9509 of a share of Microsoft common stock. Microsoft would provide each Yahoo! shareholder with the ability to choose whether to receive the consideration in cash or Microsoft common stock, subject to pro-ration so that in the aggregate one-half of the Yahoo! common shares will be exchanged for shares of Microsoft common stock and one-half of the Yahoo! common shares will be converted into the right to receive cash. Our proposal is not subject to any financing condition.

    Our proposal represents a 62% premium above the closing price of Yahoo! common stock of $19.18 on January 31, 2008. The implied premium for the operating assets of the company clearly is considerably greater when adjusted for the minority, non-controlled assets and cash. By whatever financial measure you use - EBITDA, free cash flow, operating cash flow, net income, or analyst target prices - this proposal represents a compelling value realization event for your shareholders.

    We believe that Microsoft common stock represents a very attractive investment opportunity for Yahoo!'s shareholders. Microsoft has generated revenue growth of 15%, earnings growth of 26%, and a return on equity of 35% on average for the last three years. Microsoft's share price has generated shareholder returns of 8% during the last one year period and 28% during the last three year period, significantly outperforming the S&P 500. It is our view that Microsoft has significant potential upside given the continued solid growth in our core businesses, the recent launch of Windows Vista, and other strategic initiatives.

    Microsoft's consistent belief has been that the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! clearly represents the best way to deliver maximum value to our respective shareholders, as well as create a more efficient and competitive company that would provide greater value and service to our customers. In late 2006 and early 2007, we jointly explored a broad range of ways in which our two companies might work together. These discussions were based on a vision that the online businesses of Microsoft and Yahoo! should be aligned in some way to create a more effective competitor in the online marketplace. We discussed a number of alternatives ranging from commercial partnerships to a merger proposal, which you rejected. While a commercial partnership may have made sense at one time, Microsoft believes that the only alternative now is the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! that we are proposing.

    In February 2007, I received a letter from your Chairman indicating the view of the Yahoo! Board that "now is not the right time from the perspective of our shareholders to enter into discus
    • by DaveM753 (844913) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:24AM (#22260482) Homepage
      Hey, Ballmer: I can help with your goal of making "a more efficient" company. Instead of using buzzwords like "this proposal represents a compelling value realization event for your shareholders", you could say something like "this is a good deal for your shareholders."

      Eliminating unnecessary, extraneous keystrokes on a corporate scale represents a compelling efficiency realization event for your shareholders.

      So there. :P

      • ...Instead of using buzzwords like "this proposal represents a compelling value realization event for your shareholders", you could say something like "this is a good deal for your shareholders."

        These MBA types may be all fat and bluster, but often let the truth slip out anyway. Don't read more into his statement than is there. Sure, if you were in charge, you'd be working on deals that would be good for your shareholders.

        But that's not what he's about and that's not what this deal is about. "Value realization" is an obfuscated way of saying "extending our desktop monopoly to web searches" and "locking web users into our proprietary protocols and technologies".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by u38cg (607297)

      Depending on the nature of your response, Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!'s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.

      In other words, Microsoft is putting them on notice that they intend to take Yahoo over, and if the board does not agree then it will be a hostile takeover. In other words, if you don't agree, your job is toast :)

      No bad thing: Yahoo has been floundering badly for some time (well, ever since Google arrived, if we're honest) and needs some serious work before it has any chance of being an effective competitor to Google.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:38AM (#22260620)
      Brief analysis of some key points:

      1) Microsoft is indicating that they are challenging Google "Today, the market is increasingly dominated by one player who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition. ". However, This statement should apply to Microsoft. Microsoft is the 800lb gorilla yet they are making it sound like they are a bit player and Google is the gorilla - more management doublespeak.

      2) Microsoft is indicating they would replace all non-Microsoft at Yahoo with Microsoft technology with phrases like "combination enables synergies related to scale economics". This is great market speak for lay off all that oppose the Microsoft initiatives and move to a common, Microsoft-centric platform.

      3) Microsoft wants their search as, I guess, MSN has not been effective: "single search index".

      4) Phrases like "eliminating redundant infrastructure and duplicative operating costs" are management speak for layoffs, firing middle management at Yahoo, moving to Microsoft's management and benefit structure, and similar. In my experience through many corporate buyouts, all are very negative to the employees at the company being purchases - Yahoo. However, Microsoft attempts to temper this with "offer significant retention packages to your engineers, key leaders and employees", which is more corporate double-speak.

      5) The "exceptional display and search advertising capabilities" sounds like a tighter integration with Microsoft's technology, i.e., Windows and MSIE. Maybe they want to have tighter integration between Vista and their ad revenue stream. Could "new advertising platform capabilities" indicate ad-supported Vista (get a free ad when you log in, when you fire up Office, etc.)?

      Overall, it sounds like Microsoft is saying that Yahoo should sell to them because Yahoo didn't meet their goals, the combined company can better challenge Google, and Yahoo has tech that Microsoft needs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RevWaldo (1186281)
      You left out the post-it note on the letter - "Jeffry, Roy - We can do this the easy way or the hard way. Remember - I know where you all live."
  • So This Means... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flyneye (84093) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:08AM (#22260268) Homepage
    So this means people will begin avoiding Yahoo with the same impunity they avoid MSN?
    Theoretically Microsoft could buy up anything good about the internet so we can all shut our computers down and settle in w/a trip to the library and a good book.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ilgaz (86384) *

      So this means people will begin avoiding Yahoo with the same impunity they avoid MSN?
      Theoretically Microsoft could buy up anything good about the internet so we can all shut our computers down and settle in w/a trip to the library and a good book.

      I am sure Yahoo already lost a lot of users just because of the rumor/bid. I actually checked if closing/purging Yahoo account is still easy and my account exists there since 1998. Guess why that account was opened first time? Hotmail got acquired by MS and I was one of first to ask if there is a way to close my account ;) Moved to Yahoo the day it was announced.

  • by jwietelmann (1220240) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:09AM (#22260290)
    From the article:

    "Today, the market is increasingly dominated by one player, who is consolidating its dominance through acquisition," Microsoft said.
    Sound like anyone you know?
  • by jo42 (227475) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:11AM (#22260312) Homepage
    What would this mean to Yahoo E-mail? Or Flickr? Or the great web developer toolkits Yahoo has release? Just imagine the migration of all Yahoo services over to Windows Server. Unless they leave it alone, whatever Microsoft does would be the kiss of death to what Yahoo is.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:12AM (#22260330) Journal
    I have 10 years of email in yahoo. If MS takes over, what then? Will they force everyone into hotmail accounts? I think I'm going to be spending a few hours every night downloading and saving my email off line.

    Interesting that - imagine building a business using online apps, only to have your supplier go under and get bought out in some botched effort, and then lose history...

    I think there are a number of serious implications in this MS/Yahoo deal. The monopoly aspect is actually the least problematic: the loss of history is a greater problem.

    But then, maybe the Feds under a Democratic Admin will say "nuh uh!" and kill the deal...

    RS

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jollyreaper (513215)

      I have 10 years of email in yahoo. If MS takes over, what then? Will they force everyone into hotmail accounts? I think I'm going to be spending a few hours every night downloading and saving my email off line.

      Interesting that - imagine building a business using online apps, only to have your supplier go under and get bought out in some botched effort, and then lose history...

      Dude, that's the first thing I thought when I heard of "application service providers." For starters, I hated the industry since they couldn't find their own fucking acronym, they had to keep getting everyone confused with the other ASP.

      Here's a good example I just found out about, an asp going after doctor's offices. In the last few I've been in, they're still running apps off of ancient LAN's, some are even DOS-based. All they need is a simple client-tracking and medical billing database and there's not

  • by QuatermassX (808146) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:13AM (#22260354) Homepage

    It was only a matter of time before Microsoft decided to try to get a final regulatory pass from the Bush administration before the inauguration of a less-sympathetic President in 2009.

    This deal makes a lot of sense for Microsoft (sort of - I'm assuming Yahoo!'s ad business really is worth the cash), but I can't see how this is at all good for Yahoo! or the marketplace at large.

    Is the plan to re-brand everything as Microsoft Live! (keeping the exclamation mark) - thus destroying pretty much the only thing Yahoo! has going for it - brand recognition?

    I would be very sad to see Yahoo! and their odd collection of services get subsumed and destroyed in a merger with Microsoft. Yes, I'm assuming much of Yahoo!'s tech portfolio would be wiped away or left to die - this wouldn't be the sort of merger Adobe engineered with Macromedia by a long shot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WaZiX (766733)

      This deal makes a lot of sense for Microsoft (sort of - I'm assuming Yahoo!'s ad business really is worth the cash), but I can't see how this is at all good for Yahoo! or the marketplace at large.

      The question is not whether it's a good deal for Yahoo!, the question is whether it's a good deal for Yahoo! shareholders... Anyways, paying a 62% premium on the market value to just let yahoo! die out seems like a pretty bad deal to me, so I very much doubt that Microsoft will just let the Yahoo! brand die out...

  • flickr (Score:5, Insightful)

    by suzerain (245705) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:15AM (#22260378) Homepage
    Shit, now this means the photos I have on flickr are going to be owned by Microsoft? Oy vey. Can we have a "good photo sharing site" thread now so I can find the alternatives?
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:20AM (#22260422)
    ... accumulated through the illegal leveraging of their desktop monopoly. Ever wonder where all the money from the over-priced MS Windows and MS Office franchises goes?

    Microsoft is looking to put google out of business.

  • by div_2n (525075) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:25AM (#22260494)
    I wrote to the FTC to complain because since Yahoo now owns Zimbra, this means that Microsoft will have the ability to kill the only serious competitor to their Exchange platform.

    I know about the other solutions, but none are as feature complete IMHO as Zimbra. Two words: Blackberry integration.
  • by Zarf (5735) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:44AM (#22260704) Journal
    I for one... welcome our new yodeling software overlords.
  • Hmmm..... (Score:5, Funny)

    by 8127972 (73495) on Friday February 01, 2008 @10:46AM (#22260740)
    In this story:

    http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/299523 [thestar.com]

    Ballmer makes this comment:

    " Signalling Microsoft doesn't intend to take no for an answer, Ballmer wrote that the company "reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo's shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.""

    My question is how many chairs does that involve?

  • Perhaps (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hrieke (126185) on Friday February 01, 2008 @11:14AM (#22261190) Homepage
    the real reason to buy Yahoo is to kill it.
    I can see this in a two prong attack to get to Google.
    First, by buying Yahoo, they get access to all of Yahoo's users which will be migrated over to MSN. This will give MS the strength to talk to Madison Ave and have the technology that is good enough.

    Second, MS will then offer cut rate advertisement (or perhaps a new click model which is deeply discounted), which will force Google to react or lose market share.
    Remember that Google is primarily a advertisement firm with some killer search technology, not a technology firm that also does ads- so to use a Ballmer quote from the past, to kill a company, you "cut out the air supply". Google's air is adverts.

    Finally, this will cut into Yahoo's open source projects; just a little benefit for MS, but still, it's there.

    To a monopolist, $40b is cheep money for killing 2 birds with one stone.

    Now, will it happen?
    That's another question.
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday February 01, 2008 @11:22AM (#22261310)
    OK, Yahoo isn't a small company. This isn't like other acquisitions MS has made. This is more like a Compaq buying DEC. Think about it, Yahoo is sort of losing against Google. So Microsoft is buying a faltering competitor to (a) merge income and (2) reduce the competition by one player.

    That makes the game Microsoft vs Google.

    Now, can Microsoft really take on Yahoo without destroying it? Will it be like when Compaq bought DEC? Or will it work? Yahoo is all FreeBSD, the engineers there HATE and laugh at Microsoft and its products. I know for a fact that moral will sink and people will leave Yahoo.

    There is something different going on here. FAST, Fast Search and Transfer, previous owners of www.alltheweb.com, a search engine competitor to google in the late 1990s split from its search engine business which it sold to overture, which was bought by Yahoo. Microsoft is currently in the process of buying FAST, and next on the agenda is Yahoo. Bringing back together, the two halves of the old company.

    It may be a coincidence, but it is curious. Why would Microsoft buy technology that it arguably already has or could build cheaper? What is it they are out to get? Are there patents or other "intellectual property" owned collectively by the two parts of FAST that they can use to sue Google?

    Also, Yahoo is a HUGE open source user/contributor. A purchase by Microsoft will almost certainly reduce the number and amount of contribution to the open source environment.

    Lastlt, isn't this *exactly* what the Sherman act was designed to prevent?

  • Knee Jerk Reaction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Guanine (883175) on Friday February 01, 2008 @11:31AM (#22261464)
    1. Can anyone imagine how this purchase could possibly work? I can only see the finances of the two companies united... not the brands themselves.
    2. There are probably a bunch of boardroom guys drooling over "synergistic cross-brand opportunities" right now. Bleugh.
    3. At least this story wasn't submitted by "I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property". If he's so great, bring him on as an editor already.
  • by Wylfing (144940) <brian@[ ]fing.net ['wyl' in gap]> on Friday February 01, 2008 @11:47AM (#22261712) Homepage Journal

    When you scramble up the letters in Microsoft and Yahoo it spells Hot Roomy Fiasco. That can't be good.

    Wait, it can also spell Ciao, Frosty Homo. That's not so good either.

  • by thirty-seven (568076) on Friday February 01, 2008 @12:21PM (#22262232)

    Why do EU regulators get any say over whether Microsoft can purchase Yahoo? Does, say, Canada also have the right to block Microsoft from purchasing Yahoo? Could the US block BMW from purchasing Daimler?

    This is based on the assumption that Microsoft and Yahoo are both incorporated in the United States.

    Note: I am not a U.S. person, nor do I have a US-rocks, EU-sucks attitude.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jas79 (196511)
      because they do business in the EU and they have subsidiaries in the EU.
  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Friday February 01, 2008 @01:17PM (#22263198) Homepage
    Years ago Microsoft said they would be the #1 search engine and set up Microsoft Network using their best and brightest tech staff and the cutting edge of Microsoft technology innovation, they released many new features bought up some services and integrated them and the best they have achieved is #3 and they seem to be stuck there.

    Before MS buys something more successful than they are - I think they should do some serious introspection as to why exactly they were not able to achieve such a lofty goal on their own given how much more value they are (in their words) to the customer. If they just buy #2 there's probably a good chance they will sink back to #3 again as they integrate their #3 ideas on a business operating at #2.

    I would think if they really wanted to be #2 they should pay Yahoo to 'buy MSN' and let Yahoo figure out what is wrong with their #3 problem and overlay the staff, technology and features that could make MSN #2.
  • by Golgafrinchan (777313) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:08PM (#22264040)
    Remember when Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson ordered that Microsoft be broken up into 3 separate companies back in 1999? Microsoft appealed the verdict, Bush won the 2000 election, and suddenly the Department of Justice had a strong Republican (i.e., pro-big business) bent. The result is that the original judgment on Microsoft was thrown out, and they instead were served with a comparative slap on the wrist.

    I expect something similar to happen here. Right now, the Department of Justice is unlikely to enforce antitrust law too strictly, and so at this point in time I don't expect the DoJ would have a problem with this acquisition. However, if Clinton or Obama wins the presdiency 10 months from now and this acquisition still isn't completed, don't be surprised if the DoJ starts looking at this much more closely and blocks the acquisition.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jack9 (11421)
      Why would anyone utter the term, anti-trust when talking about an MS/Yahoo merger. Neither come close to control of a market ANYWHERE. Combined, they equal nothing special.
  • by Builder (103701) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:51PM (#22264754)
    ...to watch from a great distance!

    I remember how many goes it took to get hotmail off of FreeBSD, and I expect Yahoo! to be even harder.
  • by ikarous (1230832) on Friday February 01, 2008 @03:35PM (#22265400)
    I hope this deal will not go through. I use Google's products over Yahoo's as a matter of taste; I find Yahoo's pages too cluttered to be aesthetically pleasing. Be that as it may, the last thing I want to see is Yahoo going under; which, in my humble opinion, is exactly what this deal would amount to in the long run. Microsoft has a long history of buying out innovative companies and products and subsequently turning them into Passport/Live/insert-buzzword-here clones with vastly inferior functionality than their previous iterations. If Microsoft buys Yahoo! and slowly runs it into the ground, slowly replacing Yahoo's key engineers with Microsoft people, what major competitor will be left to offer (real) innovative competition to Google? I respect all the good that Google has done the Internet as a whole, but I am not blind to the fact that the corporation is now a publicly traded company, and thus subject to the whims of shareholders. If Google's most threatening competitor becomes stagnant, or even regressive, how will Google justify research and development costs to its shareholders? Maybe I'm wrong and Microsoft will retain Yahoo!'s management and employees more or less as they are, but I doubt it. I see this deal as injurious to innovation in OS-independent web technologies.
  • Competition (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Friday February 01, 2008 @04:06PM (#22265828)
    I hope the Commerce Dept. considers the following:

    Most of the conversation has been about reducing the number of search engines from three to two. But for some businesses seeking on-line advertising, this merger will reduce the number of choices from two to one. If you are a business in competition with either Microsoft, one of its 'Channel Partners', lackeys, or other minions, MSN is simply not a viable option. I seriously doubt Microsoft will allow Yahoo to escape its 'One World, One Program' marketing vision.

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