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Is Microsoft just Screwing with Yahoo's Mind? 209

Posted by Zonk
from the inserting-the-nano-probes dept.
The Narrative Fallacy writes "This week Cringely offers up a speculative piece asserting that Microsoft might not really care if its bid to buy Yahoo succeeds or not — Bill Gates just wants to disrupt Yahoo and poach the company's employees. 'Microsoft's offer for Yahoo has thrown that company and several others into a tizzy. Yahoo can't be getting much work done, that's for sure ... Redmond's real goal may be simply to poach people from Yahoo, and this deal could help them do just that.' Cringley says there is plenty of precedent for Microsoft's behavior — Microsoft's bids for Borland and for Intuit back in the 1990s sent both companies into a tailspin. 'A failed Microsoft bid, even one involving a termination fee, could lead to horrific results for the company. Remember that Yahoo is staggering here while Intuit was at the top of its market and its game.'"
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Is Microsoft just Screwing with Yahoo's Mind?

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  • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @02:28PM (#22446578)
    but is Microsoft capable of this? I'd say that's a given.
    • by blowdart (31458) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @03:17PM (#22446932) Homepage
      See it's weird; I thought that the google proposed partnership was a spoiler and a non-serious offer just made to burn up more of Microsoft's warchest by giving Yahoo a plausible reason to drive the price up. And the goggle thing dissolved away very quickly, whereas the Microsoft offer is still on the table.
      • Like I said, it's hard to tell. Beats me what's really going on ... from the outside looking in, Yahoo doesn't really seem like a good match for Microsoft. Personally I think Ballmer is flying higher than a kite, but we'll see.
      • by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @04:10PM (#22447328) Homepage

        See it's weird; I thought that the google proposed partnership was a spoiler and a non-serious offer just made to burn up more of Microsoft's warchest by giving Yahoo a plausible reason to drive the price up. And the goggle thing dissolved away very quickly, whereas the Microsoft offer is still on the table.
        The Google offer dissolved because it wasn't very realistic. But that doesn't prove the Microsoft offer is real.

        Personally I suspected Microsoft's offer might be fake pretty early on. I mean, it can't be 100% fake, because if Yahoo! were to immediately agree, then Microsoft would have to go through with it, or lose face (and a lot of it). So there is some degree of truth in the offer. But Ballmer might think that the deal has a 95% chance of not succeeding (due to Yahoo! dismissing it, regulatory issues, etc.), and that in that 95% case he manages to screw Yahoo! up big time.

        As for why Microsoft would want to screw with Yahoo!, my reasoning as I explained it to someone the other day is this. First, Microsoft would screw with Google if it could, but it can't use this trick there. So Yahoo! is the target, as follows (numbers are made up here, just to make a point): Say Google has 50% market share, Yahoo! has 30% and Microsoft has 10%. If Yahoo is screwed with, it might lose 10% to drop to 20%. In theory 5% might go to Google, 5% to Microsoft, giving us Google 55%, Yahoo! 20%, Microsoft 15%. Note that this helps Google at the same time as it helps Microsoft, but in simple terms, Microsoft has gained 50% market share (10% to 15%). From there Microsoft is at a better vantage point to challenge Google. Or, in other terms: First Microsoft fought with 80% of the market; now it fights with 75% of the market.

        Another way to see it is that Microsoft wants to be #2 instead of #3. Any playing fairly always takes more time.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by microbee (682094)
          In theory 5% might go to Google, 5% to Microsoft, giving us Google 55%, Yahoo! 20%, Microsoft 15%.

          I am sorry but this "theory" is pretty silly. Why wouldn't it be that Google grabs most of it, at least at the 50:10 ratio?

        • by dhavleak (912889)

          Personally I suspected Microsoft's offer might be fake pretty early on.
          I don't know man -- a 44 billion dollar offer isn't something you treat like a game of poker. And MS hasn't backed down yet either. I mean, if you forget the theories of MS having malicious intent etc., the math becomes a lot simpler. Yahoo has 20% of market share and MS want to buy that 20%. Plain and simple.
          • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @10:49PM (#22449826)
            No, a 44B offer is absolutely a poker bet. Just because the numbers are big doesn't mean that the rules change. Poker is about psychology, and that doesn't vary with the stakes.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by dhavleak (912889)

              No, a 44B offer is absolutely a poker bet. Just because the numbers are big doesn't mean that the rules change. Poker is about psychology, and that doesn't vary with the stakes.

              That's more of a universal statement, than something that applies to this topic. When you look at it that way anything/everything/nothing (whatever you prefer) can be looked at as a poker game.

              But I seriously doubt that the acquisition offer began with Ballmer and the other top dogs saying "let's screw with yahoo's mind, because we can, and by our machinations we could actually get yahoo to disintegrate and we'll snap up 5% of the online ad revenue market in the process".

              In any case, going along with your

          • I mean, if you forget the theories of MS having malicious intent etc., the math becomes a lot simpler. Yahoo has 20% of market share and MS want to buy that 20%. Plain and simple.

            However MS has to know it won't get all of Yahoo!'s market share. Sure it will get some but others who use Yahoo! will switch if MS acquires it.

            Falcon
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rucs_hack (784150)
      but is Microsoft capable of this? I'd say that's a given.

      Maybe, maybe not. However I'm sick and tired of the Microsoft conspiracy nutbars who trot out evil reasons for everything Microsoft do.

      Ok, perhaps it is true, but if Microsoft were investing so much time and energy being evil in every move they make, don't you think they wouldn't be the #1 company in the field? (profits wise). I'd have thought they'd have slipped a while back.

      And no, they haven't slipped. Point out the failure of the Xbox to turn a bu
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by osu-neko (2604)

        Ok, perhaps it is true, but if Microsoft were investing so much time and energy being evil in every move they make, don't you think they wouldn't be the #1 company in the field? (profits wise). I'd have thought they'd have slipped a while back.

        Err, no. All of the the above would make sense if it were true that being evil is bad for business. Alas, the reason companies usually behave in an evil manner is because it helps them financially. You can't point to financial success as evidence they're not evil.

        • by rbanffy (584143)
          "IBM's evil is was sustained it as long as it did. It was IBM's arrogance that brought them down."

          Wrong. It was two disruptive technologies and two bad decisions that ended IBM's monopoly. The first technology was commodity computer components that enabled small-run computer outfits to compete. The other was the sale of OSs that were not tied exclusively to a specific micro-computer platform (that more or less started with the CP/M family) that created.

          As for the bad decisions, had IBM either successfully l
      • by SL Baur (19540) <steve@xemacs.org> on Saturday February 16, 2008 @05:29PM (#22447932) Homepage Journal

        Point out the failure of the Xbox to turn a buck if you will,
        Maybe it didn't, but you are right - it was huge strategic victory. More than ever, console games and Microsoft Windows are linked. The last time I went to a GameStop I asked for games playable on Macintosh. The salesman immediately said there weren't any. I pointed behind him at the display case with World of Warcraft and told him he was wrong and he said he didn't know it could be played on Macintosh.

        Go Blizzard! They not only run on Macintosh, they run on Linux with Wine too.
      • by Lally Singh (3427)
        There's something to be said about prior history about MS. As for how diabolical this is, the development of this technique could be simple: they actually intend to buy a company, but eventually discover how much leverage they get just by offering. Eventually the offer becomes a weapon.

        As for why MS isn't #1 in the field, no matter how unscrupulous you methods, you still have to put out good code.

        It'd be nice if they eventually had an IBM-esque transformation. Then it'd be google's turn to go evil :-)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by _Sprocket_ (42527)

        And you know what? IBM used to be right evil buggers, and it cost them their lead in a big way, too much time spent hurting the competition, not enough time minding the shop. Now everyone loves them, 'ooh, but they love open source' is trotted out in defence against any slight. They were real gits back a few decades ago.

        IBM lost control of the market because they over-valued their mainframe business, lost their R&D focus, and fumbled the microcomputer market. Their evil ways? It was all about keeping their dominance with mainframes. Meanwhile the microcomputer sprang from hobbiest device to must-have decentralized business tool. IBM lost control of their attempt to capture this surprise market (one that they had largely ignored) and, ultimately, set the stage for their own downfall; the rise of inexpensive, commod

    • by rdean400 (322321)
      Honestly, I don't know if they're capable of it. "Web 2.0" is characterized by disruptive innovations, and Microsoft's bureaucracy acts against the agility needed to accomplish that.

      If you look at their recent product releases, you'll see a lot of reinventing wheels. Disruptive innovation is characterized by new inventions or new combinations of ideas. They don't have that.
  • Treading Water (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wombatmobile (623057) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @02:33PM (#22446608)
    Yahoo is treading water. Microsoft is treading water. Neither company has innovated to grow new business for the last 5+ years. Meanwhile, Google has created growth. It has built and grown a large, growing advertising business. Now Microsoft has a paw on Yahoo, treading water next to it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Microsoft is treading water."

      That is the trouble right there with discussing Microsoft. You really can't have a serious discussion of the company because there a million Microsoft fans who will flip out and point out that a company that Microsoft has/makes 'billions' and that is 'like an infinite amount of money'.

    • Re:Treading Water (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @02:44PM (#22446702) Homepage
      That's a fact and I'd add more to this by saying that Microsoft is "leadership" and "vision" poor. They are not likely to be short on talented or skilled people. The reality is the decisions and priorities that Microsoft is following are what's leading to its hardships at the moment. They had defined "computing" as we had known it for around 10 straight years but that position has slipped quite a bit and pretty much everyone is doubting Microsoft's vision and wisdom in the industry -- even the end users -- and it would seem Microsoft has yet to realize that they no longer truly wield the power over people's minds that they once had. (Or perhaps they are realizing it and are attempting to compensate in other [failing] ways?)

      Once upon a time, Microsoft made cool stuff and people bought it... a lot of it. Then, for some reason, marketers took control of the company instead of the creative people and now people are wondering why Microsoft is failing.

      It's LEADERSHIP and lack of vision that is dooming this once incredibly influential company. Attempting to poach employees from Yahoo, an equally if not more stagnant company, isn't going to anything but rearrange the deck chairs on their Titanic.
      • Re:Treading Water (Score:5, Insightful)

        by webmaster404 (1148909) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @03:04PM (#22446856)

        Once upon a time, Microsoft made cool stuff and people bought it... a lot of it. Then, for some reason, marketers took control of the company instead of the creative people and now people are wondering why Microsoft is failing.


        No, once MS, Bought cool stuff from other companies, rebranded it and made deals with OEMs so people would use it. Just about EVERY thing MS has done has been bought by other companies. If it wasn't for getting lucky with DOS (which they bought from someone else) and IBM they would not be existing right now. All MS survived on is luck and buying companies that do innovate. Now that they managed to monopolize all the OS industry, they have just left the community projects like Linux that can't be bought and Apple which would be highly unwilling to be bought. Everything MS has done was by money, even though they have good coders, all MS has done is buy and buy and now they have scared all the competition from even trying, they have nothing left to buy and are now stagnant. Yahoo innovated slightly but I still think it represents the early '90s on the Web whereas Google represents the present age.
        • Re:Treading Water (Score:5, Insightful)

          by rucs_hack (784150) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @04:01PM (#22447244)
          Purchasing smaller companies that produce products you want to incorporate into your business is standard industry practice...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Google represents the current age? What exactly has google done that is innovative aside from adsense? Search was already done, it was just an incremental improvement. And then they did what you say Microsoft did, they purchased. They bought maps, blogging sites, on-line office suites. Googles products are driven by acquisition and not innovation.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by bigpicture (939772)
          I believe you have framed the actual situation very accurately here. The MS leadership didn't actually have a lot of vision, they just bought up cool stuff companies who seemed to be succeeding in the marketplace.
        • All MS survived on is luck and buying companies that do innovate.
          Yeah! Whereas Google and Yahoo!... oh wait.
        • by LibertineR (591918) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @06:13PM (#22448244)
          What product makes Microsoft their greatest profit? Answer = MS Office.

          Which department decided to bundle Microsoft's desktop apps into what is known as MS Office? Answer = Microsoft's Marketing Dept.

          You must be very young to believe Microsoft simply BOUGHT all of their products, or that everything successful is simply the result of their money.(Did I mention MS Office?)

          Love them or hate them, but you would be foolish to think Microsoft never built anything on their own towards their success. They didn't buy Excel, they didn't buy Exchange Server, which spawned Active Directory, so give them their due.

          Nobody told the folks at Lotus or Netscape that they got beat by money, rather than products that kicked theirs in the teeth. Who did they buy Visual Studio or the .NET Framework from? Something tells me, Microsoft will be just fine for the long term.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by falconwolf (725481)

            You must be very young to believe Microsoft simply BOUGHT all of their products, or that everything successful is simply the result of their money.(Did I mention MS Office?)

            This could be turned around on you, you must be very young to believe MS Office was innovative or the first office suite. All MS did was bundle different apps together. And even then though my memory is rusty I believe WordPerfect bundled an office suite before MS did... Yeap, whereas MS Office [wikipedia.org] was first created in 1989, for the Ma

        • If it wasn't for getting lucky with DOS (which they bought from someone else) and IBM they would not be existing right now.

          It amazes me that the geek still fantasies about MS-DOS.

          Microsoft was incorporated in 1975 and by 1980 was dominant in languages for the microcomputer. Microsoft was moving up and moving fast.

          There would be an MBASIC for the IBM PC and much, much more to come.

          Gates promised to deliver a cheap, serviceable, OS in time for the projected launch of the IBM PC, an OS that would sell for

      • "Defined crappy computing" - now that's accurate.
      • What did Microsoft make that was cool or innovative? That is other than Atari BASIC [wikipedia.org]?

        Falcon
    • Re:Treading Water (Score:5, Informative)

      by abigor (540274) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @02:49PM (#22446748)
      Microsoft's year over year growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was 26%. Their quarterly revenues were nearly equal to Google's entire financial year. Such growth can hardly be termed as "treading water", despite their lack of innovation.
      • Microsoft's year over year growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was 26%. Their quarterly revenues were nearly equal to Google's entire financial year. Such growth can hardly be termed as "treading water", despite their lack of innovation.

        How many of that "growth" is in OEM versions if Windows? I'd guess alot, MS could easily have them buy in bulk (such as licenses by the thousands) and give a slight discount and make it seem like MS is alive while that may be the only OEM money they get for the first half of Vista's life. No, MS is going down and even though they can make the numbers say whatever they want the fact is, people perception of MS is different, no longer does OS need to equil Windows with Mac and Linux being just as if not

      • Microsoft's year over year growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was 26%.

        Whether or not that's "treading water" depends a bit on how you define "treading water." It's been awhile since I checked, but as I recall that's a pretty average growth rate for Microsoft's industry. From an investor's point of view, that could certainly be seen as treading water (depending, of course, on the company's other financial indicators).

        Their quarterly revenues were nearly equal to Google's entire financial year. Such gro

      • Not to mention that if buying your innovation is the definition of treading water, then Google's pretty much the champ. They haven't done an original thing since PageRank. Google makes its fortune the same way Apple and Sony do: it takes ideas that other people made at modest quality, polishes the hell out of them, then pretends it invented the market.

        Go on, just try to find one Google technology in the last eight years that has a drop of originality to it.
    • by westlake (615356) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @04:02PM (#22447258)
      Microsoft is treading water.

      Perhaps you can't forgive the pun. But...

      There seems to be nothing that can pull the Geek out of denial.

      Microsoft posted breathtaking results in its first and second quarters. 15-20% growth in Windows. In Office. In servers. In home entertainment.

      That kind of growth isn't fueled by massive "upgrades" to Win XP.

      67 cents of every new retail dollar spent on PC software goes to Microsoft Office.

      Microsoft gambled on "the ribbon" and won.

      For the quarter, Microsoft sales increased 30 percent in emerging markets, 20 percent in established markets like Europe and 15 percent in the United States. Microsoft has become very well insulated from a recession in the states.

      Online services are still posting a loss, but ad revenues are up damn near 40% from fiscal 2007 to $623 million.

      There are 427 million Windows Live IDs.

      Which suggests that estimates of one billion Windows users world-wide are on the money.

      Microsoft has been paying dividends, buying back stock. It holds $20 billion in liquid reserves and doesn't owe a dime to anyone.

      Microsoft Q2 2008 By The Numbers [microsoft-watch.com]

    • Not really accurate (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      MS and YAHOO and complete different services than google.

      Google is a fiscal service for advertisers with free user services to get viewers to the add content.

      MS and Yahoo are user services that use advertising since they already have the users there. The motivation is cleary and entirely different between these companies. Google is all ads, MS wants you on their platform and subscriptions with some ads on the side. Yahoo must have a mountain of email accounts that perhaps MS wants to eat up in order to inte
      • Yahoo must have a mountain of email accounts that perhaps MS wants to eat up in order to integrate them with the new MS email/office combination.

        And Yahoo! will lose one of them, mine, and I bet others will switch as well if Microsoft acquires Yahoo!.

        I must say, google and the rest of the world are slacking on getting onlnie apps out. At this rate MS is going to eat them alive and google is going to have some shitty plain Ajax wordprocessor to pretend to be competative against Word online.

        I couldn't

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @02:34PM (#22446614) Journal
    anything like fair?
    Sure, all MS has to do is either make their products better than anyone else's or scare everyone from investing in a competitor's business and products. Either one will result in Microsoft's favor.

    Business-wise, since Google isn't going to suddenly lose market-share it is necessary to gain market share, either by purchasing it, or causing your own product to gain market share.

    Some very large corporations in North America have been found guilty of this same type of practice. With all the MS bashing on /. this should come as no surprise AT ALL.

    Whether they actually buy Yahoo or not, MS wins in the business side.

    Sure, to the average joe it is hard to see the win, but if Yahoo loses revenues MS will begin to take them (what Google doesn't get anyway). In the business of becoming the largest in your field of endeavor having better products/services than your competition is only marginally more important (if at all) than your competitor being worse than you at the game of business. We all know that MS is very successful at business, not so much so at creating innovative products and services.
    • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @03:12PM (#22446908)

      Sure, to the average joe it is hard to see the win, but if Yahoo loses revenues MS will begin to take them (what Google doesn't get anyway). In the business of becoming the largest in your field of endeavor having better products/services than your competition is only marginally more important (if at all) than your competitor being worse than you at the game of business.


      I know a lot of people who use Google as their primary search engine, I know lots of people who use Yahoo for searching and mail, I even know people who prefer to use Ask. Even still there are some who use some hijacked browser page to search. However I have not met one person who really uses Live/MSN to search. I don't think for most people Yahoo is going away soon, most have mail accounts there and of course will use it to check their mail, and unless MS's search engine has new and different features then Yahoo and Google I doubt they will gain marketshare. For most people, they choose search engines from convience not features and Google and Yahoo are rooted in their minds and browser's homepage more then MSN/Live.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Hucko (998827)
        Australians. If they aren't using Google, they seem to use Msn via ninemsn. Nine is one of our Big4 free to air channels who did some dodgy deal with Microsoft way back. As far as I know we only have five national f.t.a.
  • Stock price (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom9729 (1134127) <tom9729&gmail,com> on Saturday February 16, 2008 @02:37PM (#22446642) Homepage
    Didn't Yahoo's stock price go up from this, while the price of MSFT stock went down? Isn't Microsoft doing more harm to themselves?

    Besides, I thought Balmer was in charge now. What's with all this talk about Bill?
    • Yes Bill has retired. As you can see from the following video...

      http://on10.net/blogs/larry/Bills-Last-Day-CES-2008-Keynote-Video/Default.aspx [on10.net] ...the pressure from Google, Apple and others has finally taken it's toll.
      He remains now only as chairman of the board.
  • It appears to me that MS is serious. It may have been a planned side benefit that Yahoo is distracted if the buyout does not happen. Unfortunately MS is also distracted. I mean how many MS employees started looking for new jobs when this was announced? There was also a shakeup in leadership last week too so MS is not clearly focused either.
  • by globaljustin (574257) <justinglobal @ g m a i l.com> on Saturday February 16, 2008 @02:45PM (#22446712) Homepage Journal
    TFA is being hyperbolic to claim that the purchase bid "alone has some value for Microsoft." Not quite. We're definitely in "a little bit of both" territory here

    MS was serious about its announcement about buying yahoo. If yahoo had been openly amenable to the idea, then the deal would be moving forward right now.

    The secondary effect (since yahoo was NOT amenable) was to destabilize yahoo, who is a competitor.

    So, MS did a cost/benefit actuarial analysis and found that if they bought yahoo for a certain price, then they would benefit. Yahoo doesn't want to sell, but MS still gains b/c of the uncertainty that the bid caused. It was a win/win situation for them. This is how big business works.

     
  • Remember that Yahoo is staggering here while Intuit was at the top of its market and its game.'

    Being at the "top of its market" is a liability - it forces you to look beyond your core business in hopes of continuing to expand. This is what happened to Borland - at one point, Borland owned the programming languagess market, with a 66% market share - more than Microsoft and everyone else combined. Then they went nuts. "Desktop / Professional / Enterprise" versions of compilers were one fo the first signs that rot was setting in. So was the buying and selling of WordPerfect and dBase. The dBase acquisition made sense - it let them compete directly with CA-Clipper. Dumping it later on didn't.

    Apple didn't get smart until it had it' near-death experience.

    So if Yahoo! isn't at the "top of their game" they can afford to concentrate on what they're doing. Microsoft, on the other hand, has nowhere to go bud down - their #1 competitor is themselves (see Vista vs. XP as a good example).

    • "Being at the "top of its market" is a liability...Microsoft, on the other hand, has nowhere to go but down"

      That's why I never want to be the world's wealthiest person. My rank could only get worse from there!

    • by FlyingGuy (989135) <flyingguy.gmail@com> on Saturday February 16, 2008 @05:01PM (#22447706)

      . This is what happened to Borland - at one point, Borland owned the programming languagess market, with a 66% market share - more than Microsoft and everyone else combined. Then they went nuts. "Desktop / Professional / Enterprise" versions of compilers were one fo the first signs that rot was setting in. So was the buying and selling of WordPerfect and dBase. The dBase acquisition made sense - it let them compete directly with CA-Clipper. Dumping it later on didn't.

      Borland's demise began on two very distinct and different fronts. The cause of one of them rests squarely on their shoulders, the second was pure MS evil.

      1. Borland deciding to get into the applications market was the most supremely stupid move it ever made. Paradox with its obscure and somewhat strange "Answer Table" model broke down on large data sets and was generally to strange for a lot of people to deal with. Other then that it was a pretty good database. It's main competition at the time were two dBase from Ashton-Tate and DataEase. dBase had a great language but had a pretty low end database engine. Indexes were not dynamic, and if you packed a datafile, you were in re-index hell. DataEase had a built in screen builder, a sreaming fast databse engine, a very SQL like language, a report writer that was pretty damn nice, easy to use and would crank out reports like mad. Unfortunately they bet everything on OS/2 and Presentation Manager because at the time that was where the MS/IBM strategy was heading, then MS pulled the plug and well the rest as they say is history.

      Quatro was an insanely wonderful spreadsheet product that was eating both Lotus's and Excel's lunch. It had a native GUI mode, perfect WYSIWYG and was lighting fast. It could handle multiple large spreadsheets, linking, all the fun stuff we enjoy today, and then Jim Manzy, that fuckwad from Lotus Development decided that the only way he could stave off the Quatro juggernaut was to go to court. The infamous look and feel lawsuit that came within a breath of putting Borland out of business. The filed suit in Boston and it looked like Borland was done for, then in the end Borland prevailed, but not until it had spent almost everything defending the suit. To this day I still want to find Jim Manzy in a dark alley and have a chat with him,

      2. So anyone remember OWL??? The Object Windows Library? Pretty much up until then if you wanted to write windows programs you had to deal with the bare Windows API. If you had ever used it you knew it was a miserable experience. Many of the calls were very difficult to deal with, at best, and you had to re-invent a lot of things just to make your software work, Borland realized this and did something that changed windows development forever. They took the windows API and wrapped up in a very neat, clean, object based interface. Suddenly writing windows programs became some that was no longer am arcane bith of magic, and pure dumb luck. Microsoft, instead of going WOW, this company is driving TONS of programmers to windows they decided to counter with MFC and of course they really shit the bed. The first versions of MFC were simply awful, bordering on unusable, hell no one at SM would even use them. Meanwhile Borland kept refining OWL, they even had a CUI counterpart called turbo-vision, now called FreeVision as it was open sourced. OWL was being adopted by everyone and their grandmother. Borlands Language products were being used to drive windows development. The integrated IDE, all that stuff you take for granted today was ALL Borland. Up until this time Borland had licensed all the right bits from MS to handle things like integrated debugging, software profiling, really cool stuff within windows and they were flying high. Turbo C, Turbo C++, Turbo Pascal for windows were just climbing the charts. The reviews were rave and Borland was making money hand over fist and developers, for probably the first time ever, had really GREAT integrated tools to create grea

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        Yep, its sad to remember how much FUN using Borland's stuff was. I was given turbo C (complete with install disks and manuals) to write an app, and the rest was history. Years later, I bought BCC 3.1, which was just an amazing product, picked up TurboVision with Turbo Pascal 7 when I had to modify some pascal code on another project, etc.

        Instead of using OWL, I wrote a few classes that encapsulated windows, menus, etc. - it wasn't that hard. And when Delphi came out, it was a total winner product.

        I sti

        • by FlyingGuy (989135)

          Thousands of us would have paid a nice sum for the actuality that Kylix promised. Complete X-Platform and screaming fast.

          I have a copy of Kylix 3 Enterprise which I got off ebay, in the shrink Wrap no less. It actually installs on Suse and works! Unfortunately the IDE is unstable, but if you save often enough you crak out some stuff when you really need it.

      • "So what does MS do then? They go back to the old trick of "We cant compete with their products, so lets just start hijacking their engineers". MS had the money so they just started writing VERY big checks to Borland's best and brightest. And the rest as they say is history."

        "So what? I'm RICH, Bitch! Borland didn't pay me, baby!"

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by FlyingGuy (989135)

          Anders is the Darth Vader of the software industry.

          Ever wonder why so much of .Net looks just like stuff that Borland came out with, except that it sucks? Seduced by the dark side he was.

          Anders is brilliant, he could have created his own software company and did something like .Net that actually was light weight, fast and X-Platform, but instead, .net is .Garbage because it is done the "Microsoft Way".

  • Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zayin (91850) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @02:47PM (#22446720)
    "Redmond's real goal may be simply to poach people from Yahoo, and this deal could help them do just that.'"

    I think not. It's more likely that Google would do so, I expect that their recruiters are quite busy calling Yahoo employees at the moment. If this is Microsoft's goal they've just aimed a double-barreled shotgun at their feet and pulled the trigger. They just gave their no. 1 competitor a huge opportunity. Where would you, as a brilliant Yahoo employee, work next? Google or Microsoft?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Microsoft - for many employees who decide they'd be a very small extraneous fish in a very large pond at Google or the cavalry to the rescue at Microsoft. At Google, everyone higher up would be better than them; nowhere to go. At Microsoft, obviously no one knows anything about search or the web - nowhere to go but up.

      There are a million arguments against this viewpoint and I'm not sure I'd want to hire anyone who adopted it but some people would see it that way and they'd apparently be Microsoft's kind of
    • Exactly. Why would you move to another part of the company to a company with a flat stock when you can work for another company within commute distance with better perks and a rising stock?

      Yahoo employees are likely used to their free lattes and their free gym. There's another company that offers those sorts of benefits, and it ain't Microsoft.
  • (Sing to the tune of Master Exploder by Tenacious D)

    Ahhhhh, ahhhhhh, ahhhhhhh, ahhhhhh, ahh ahhh ahhh ahhh
    ahh ahh ahh ahhhh AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH YEAH!!

    I do not need, (he does not need)
    The Yahoo Bid (the yahoo bid)
    Our Company is freakin, (freakin)
    POWERFUL!
    Aaaaaah yeah!

    Arghhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
    [Yahoo explodes]
    Sorry
    I did not mean, (he did not mean)
    To screw your mind (to screw your mind)
    But that stuff happens to us,
    All the time!

    Now take a look (take a look)
    In to heaven? (In to
  • by kabdib (81955) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @02:55PM (#22446800) Homepage
    Cringley's an idiot. There are far cheaper ways to do this. BillG could stand on the sidewalk in front of Yahoo and hand out hire-on-bonus checks if all that MS wanted was employees, and MS would have been far, far ahead, stock-price-wise.

  • by gadget junkie (618542) <gbponz@libero.it> on Saturday February 16, 2008 @03:03PM (#22446844) Journal
    ... that Microsoft's business acumen in providing a better product over the years [youtube.com] has overflowed into their Corporate Finance department.....

    Jokes apart, there is a possible explanation which implies no wickedness on the part of MS: MS investments in his search engine + ad seller has been less effective than Yahoo's. MS would never be allowed to bid for Google, so it must settle for second best, which is not a bad place to be if you are much lower in the totem pole.

    Given the cash pile burning a hole in MS pocket the cash pile burning a hole in MS pocket [yahoo.com], the pressure to put the money to work somewhere, or return it to shareholders, is enormous, and they cannot or would not invest it in making a better product overall.
  • by Etherwalk (681268) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @03:05PM (#22446868) Homepage
    I've ever heard. And I've played catch with rock hammers.

    MS did it because they wanted to consolidate a larger advertising and search engine position, and a major internet portal. It was probably still a bad decision, but who can really say what the results would have been ten years down the line?

    Look at what MS Stock did. It had broken out of a major rut--a rut not justified by its earnings--for the first time in years following an earnings report last year. Now it's down 24% off its high. Twenty-Four percent. Balmer has lost $3.6 Billion, Gates has lost twice that, and even employees who've only lost twenty or fifty or seventy thousand aren't happy about it--because that is a big chunk of their savings. Now that price change isn't all yahoo, by any stretch of the imagination. But a big chunk of is it from the Yahoo offer.

    You don't take that hit for an offer you aren't interested in following through on.
    • MS did it because they wanted to consolidate a larger advertising and search engine position, and a major internet portal. It was probably still a bad decision, but who can really say what the results would have been ten years down the line?

      Frankly, having been an investment professional for 20 years, I do not see the difference between what I said and what you said. IMHO, if that had been true as a major driver MS would have bought out IBM's share in OS2 years back.

    • Microsoft will simply buy up their own stock while it's down, then sell more when it's up, further boosting the "war chest".
  • Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjbe (173966) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @03:31PM (#22447016)
    Nobody makes a $40B+ offer just to screw with another company. That's WAY too much money. While business disruption might be a desirable side effect, especially if the merger doesn't go through, it isn't why MS made the offer. When MS tried to buy Intuit, it was because they wanted to dominate personal finance software, not because they wanted to screw with Intuit. If memory serves they were blocked from the merger by the government due to the effective monopoly the merger would cause.

    If I was a shareholder (I'm not) and it ever came out that MS was doing that with their cash hoard instead of finding market beating investment opportunities, I'd have my lawyer on the phone faster than you could say "class action lawsuit".
    • by Aidtopia (667351)

      The MSFT/INTU deal was not blocked by regulators. The regulators said they would have to investigate. Microsoft said they didn't want to deal with the delay of an investigation and the risk that it might be blocked, so they paid to terminate the deal.

      In the mean time, they had learned a lot about how Intuit's products worked and how Intuit set up their development processes. They (re?)launched MS Money shortly thereafter.

      While it did throw things off course for Intuit for a while, it also helped them

  • Let's expose the deal for what it really is:

    If M$ is truly interested in Yahoo! to strengthen its ad play, then they should just buy Yahoo!'s ad business. M$ should agree to that, right?

    Yahoo! can then outsource their ads to somebody else. There's been speculation that they would do it to Google, but at that point, the market is much more competitive since M$ has strengthened its ad play--M$ and Google (and anyone else) can compete for ad Yahoo!'s business.

    Thus everyone supposedly wins:
    • M$ strengthens its
  • My biggest fear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pavera (320634) on Saturday February 16, 2008 @04:06PM (#22447290) Homepage Journal
    If MS buys Yahoo, what happens to Zimbra? Yahoo just bought them, and I'm 100% sure MS will kill that project the day they take over, they don't want any competition for exchange, and certainly not open source competition.

    Zimbra might not be the greatest software, but it is in my opinion the best open source collaboration/email software out there. It is the only serious competitor to exchange in the open source world. And it will be gone if MS completes this takeover.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by robizzle (975423)
      I don't know anything about Zimbra but if it is really open source, then there is nothing Microsoft would be able to do. The license allows other groups to take the code and continue development. Assuming Yahoo is paying employees to develop Zimbra (I have no idea, are they?) the worst Microsoft could do is lay off those employees or make them start working on a different project. However, the open source is still out there with its license in tact and if it really is a good project, someone will start up a
  • This is more or less off topic, but I just happen to stumble onto it via the 14 Greatest Engineering Challenges.

    Computer History 5 - Personal Computers [greatachievements.org] by William H. Gates III, (C) 2008 by National Academy of Engineering.

    Emphasis, mine. Interjections, mine. Brackets, mine.

    After the Intel 8080 microprocessor was chosen for the Altair, two young computer buffs from Seattle, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, won the job of writing software that would allow it to be programmed in BASIC.

    The weedy buffs win again, no fair.

    Nowhere was interest in personal computing more intense than in the vicinity of Palo Alto, California, a place known as Silicon Valley because of the presence of many big semiconductor firms. Electronics hobbyists abounded there, and two of them--Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak--turned their tinkering into a highly appealing consumer product: the Apple II, a plastic-encased computer with a keyboard, screen, and cassette tape for storage.

    Holy Tinker Bell, Batman. Pass the duct tape, Robin.

    Among them were three kinds of applications that made this desktop device a truly valuable tool for business--word processing, spreadsheets [VisiCalc], and databases. The market for personal computers exploded, especially after IBM weighed in with a crap product in 1981. Its crap offering used a crap operating system from Microsoft, MS-DOS, but due to a truly superior keyboard was quickly adopted by other manufacturers, allowing any given program to run on a wide variety of machines.

    Nothing clacked quite like the original IBM PC.

    Hardware like the [Xerox] mouse made the computer easier to control; operating systems allowed the [Xerox] screen to be divided into independently managed [Xerox] windows; applications programs steadily widened the range of what computers could do; and processors were lashed together--thousands of them in some cases-in order to solve pieces of a problem in parallel. Meanwhile, new communications standards [Xerox, AT&T, Berkeley] enabled computers to be joined in private networks or the incomprehensibly intricate global weave of the Internet.

    To be fair, Xerox gets its due in the timeline section.

    1970 Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

    Xerox Corporation assembles a team of researchers in information and physical sciences in Palo Alto, California, with the goal of creating "the architecture of information." Over the next 30 years innovations emerging from the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) include the concept of windows (1972), the first real personal computer (Alto in 1973), laser printers (1973), the concept of WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) word processors (1974), and EtherNet (1974). In 2002 Xerox PARC incorporates as an independent company--Palo Alto Research Center, Inc.

    Here he finds a fancy way to explain he st

  • ...without Iliad's take [userfriendly.org].
  • No, this was a real offer. They don't care if they "screw" with Yahoo. Yahoo isn't a real threat to Microsoft. The biggest threat to Microsoft is Google. So who in their right mind would mess up Yahoo so that Google slides in and gains another 10% share of search and advertising?

It's later than you think, the joint Russian-American space mission has already begun.

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