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Microsoft and News Corp in Yahoo Bid Talks 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-will-be-assimilated dept.
KingAlanI writes "The New York Times website is reporting that Microsoft is trying another angle in its bid for Yahoo: joining up with another behemoth, Murdoch's News Corporation. This is still very much in the preliminary stage, if anything, but an important development to consider. The idea of Yahoo working with fellow Web giant Google, in a plan to counteract Microsoft's takeover plan, is also discussed."
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Microsoft and News Corp in Yahoo Bid Talks

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  • I have a feeling.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NickCatal (865805)
    Why do I have a feeling MSFT is going to come out ahead with this deal

    As for if this will stand in the EU... that is another question all-together.
    • by mfh (56) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:34AM (#23023004) Journal
      MSFT wouldn't enter the deal if it would hurt them.
    • Why do I have a feeling MSFT is going to come out ahead with this deal

      $$$$$$$$$$$$

    • by imstanny (722685) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:40AM (#23023048)

      Why do I have a feeling MSFT is going to come out ahead with this deal As for if this will stand in the EU... that is another question all-together.
      Actually, if you take the history of all buy-outs, the Net benefit for the firm doing the buying is roughly 0%. Though it's a historical average, where some companies may deviate, the company buying the firm tends to have no benefits in the long run. Even in the recent tech world AMD/ATI, TimeWarner/AOL, EBAY/SKYPE come to mind...
      • by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:31AM (#23023578) Journal
        it is designed to kill Google, not compete. They are going to use their monopoly to control the web by forcing all MSIE users to become 'live'. Once done, their search engine will be integrated with their desktop. Of course, Google will sue in court later on, MS will be found guilty, and MS will simply pay. Not a bad deal for MS.

        But I am guessing that W would allow it (MS paid a lot of money to his campaign), but EU, China, Russia, and japan will nix it. And yes, those countries do have a say. After all, they can simply shut down all Windows sales, which would push Linux to the forefront. And from their POV, that would mean new business opportunities.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by dfiguero (324827)

          After all, they can simply shut down all Windows sales, which would push Linux to the forefront. And from their POV, that would mean new business opportunities.

          I wonder if they really can? If they have such power why haven't they done it already? Would they only push for Linux if MS was integrating yet another thing to their desktop?

          I think the only thing that would happen is MS would have to pay another fine like in US/EU and everything would be business as usual.

          • EU threatened for far less to shut down MS sales. If EU suggests it, I suspect that others including Japan, china, russia, and even India would follow the lead. Is this likely to happen? Slim to no chance. I am guessing that MS will blink LONG before it get to that. But while America is willing to overlook this, I do not think that the rest of world will. Google has a natural monopoly, but it is defeatable. MS is not. If they control the web, then no country will be able to take MS on.

            As to pushing Linux
      • Actually, if you take the history of all buy-outs, the Net benefit for the firm doing the buying is roughly 0%.

        and your source for this stat is to found where, exactly?

        • "... if you take the history of all buy-outs, the Net benefit for the firm doing the buying is roughly 0%."

          Source: Wikipedia article about Mergers and Acquisitions [wikipedia.org]. Quote: "Historically, mergers have often failed (Straub, 2007) to add significantly to the value of the acquiring firm's shares (King, et al., 2004)."

          That idea is well-known, but I was unable to find another link quickly. (It's only a Slashdot comment, not the result of a research project.) For example, the merger of Time-Warner and AOL is the worst business decision of human history, and lowered the value of Time-Warner so much that employees lost much of their invested savings.

          The basic point seems valid in this case, also. Microsoft has proven, over many years, that it does not know how to run a search engine. Yahoo has proven, over many years, that...

          I'm guessing that Steve Ballmer is doing this because he wants an outlet for his anger. It's difficult to see how owning Yahoo can benefit Microsoft. One possibility is that Microsoft can try to get a partial monopoly over some kinds of internet traffic. Many people with little technical knowledge use whatever Microsoft pushes them towards.

          Microsoft is NOT a successful company, in my opinion. If Microsoft didn't have one-time monopolies created during a time when people were ignorant about computers, it would not make much profit.

          Also, the failure of Vista may indicate that Microsoft can no longer hire people intelligent enough to write working software.
      • by Hassman (320786)
        I don't think you could be further from the truth. It is true that some buyouts are not good in the long term, I would think the majority of them are good for the buying company.

        I'm not a business major or anything of the sort, but applying the little I know and some common sense, I think there are many situations where a buyout would be good for both companies.

        If history dictated that there is no net benefit, then it just wouldn't happen.

        I also think it depends on what the end goal is. Not all buyouts oc
        • by imstanny (722685)

          I'm not a business major or anything of the sort, but applying the little I know and some common sense, I think there are many situations where a buyout would be good for both companies. If history dictated that there is no net benefit, then it just wouldn't happen.

          You make a very good point. As I said before, Buyouts tend to do little in terms of Adding value to a company. However, you are correct in your observation that a merger and/or buyout would allow the company to sustain its own livelyhood, for instance. The benefit may simply be observed in the fact that the company continues to exist, though still, without adding more value for its underlying equity.

          On the subject of MSFT, take a look at the following link http://www.ifa.com/Library/Support/Data/returnsa [ifa.com]

    • I am guessing that all of the countries will realize that MS is not trying to be a white knight.
  • Brilliant (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:01AM (#23022760)
    Of course! We need more EVIL! Get Murdoch on board....
  • It's been a long time since I had a business class. Isn't this what is called the poison pill? Either buying up things that make the company a poor purchase decision, or entering into contracts that do the same thing etc?
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:20AM (#23022914) Homepage Journal

      It's been a long time since I had a business class. Isn't this what is called the poison pill? Either buying up things that make the company a poor purchase decision, or entering into contracts that do the same thing etc?
      No, I don't think so. I think Yahoo believes that a deal with Google might be more lucrative than its current course of action, which is to do all advertising in-house.

      All in all, the goal seems to be to strengthen Yahoo in order to push up the stock price to avoid a hostile takeover. The poison pill approach is to make the company look so bad that nobody would want to buy it. I don't think that's what Yahoo's trying to do at all.

    • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:22AM (#23022930) Journal
      The parent wrote, "It's been a long time since I had a business class. Isn't this what is called the poison pill? Either buying up things that make the company a poor purchase decision, or entering into contracts that do the same thing etc?"

      I think it would qualify more as a poison pill strategy if Yahoo! gave up their own ad service completely and signed a binding long-term agreement with Google, the kind that survives mergers and buy-outs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:03AM (#23022780)
    For singlehandledly making AOL relevant again. I think my collection of AOL disks just increased in value.
  • Better link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:04AM (#23022788) Homepage Journal
    This is a better link [iht.com] because it's reg-free.

    The wrinkly photo of Murdoch (complete with disembodied hand) is just icing on the cake.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by fondacio (835785)
      The NYT hasn't been required registration since last September, when it also dropped its "Times Select" strategy of paying for its columnists that didn't work out. The link from the summary still contains the "?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin" bit, but even if you are not signed in you can access the article just as easily as on the website of the IHT (which, by the way, is fully owned by the NYT company).
      • The link from the summary still contains the "?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin" bit, but even if you are not signed in you can access the article just as easily as on the website of the IHT

        I tried: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/technology/10google.html [nytimes.com], but got redirected to a login page. Perhaps you're a subscriber? or my country isn't allowed to login automatically & yours is?

        (which, by the way, is fully owned by the NYT company)

        I don't give a crap where the article's from as long as I can read it.
        • by polar red (215081)

          I don't give a crap where the article's from
          I can imagine the financial elite beginning to dream with such statements. the source of an article is SO important!
        • by fondacio (835785)

          I tried: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/technology/10google.html [nytimes.com] [nytimes.com], but got redirected to a login page. Perhaps you're a subscriber? or my country isn't allowed to login automatically & yours is?

          Really? I clicked your link and it led to the article. I'm in the UK, but also at a university. I'll give it a try at home tonight (although I don't think you'll care much for the result).

          • Really? I clicked your link and it led to the article. I'm in the UK, but also at a university.

            Interestingly enough, it works for me at my work too.
  • by blcamp (211756) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:04AM (#23022790) Homepage

    Don't count out another media player:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN0929033920080410?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true [reuters.com]

    Hard to know whether this is going to turn into a bidding war, but no matter what happens, Yahoo's days as an independant 'net player on the big stage are numbered.
  • by William Robinson (875390) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:11AM (#23022846)
    troll -1

    IMHO, I don't think Microsoft is going to gain anything by taking over Apple, Yahoo OR Google. They have acquired Hotmail earlier, and I personally know many friends switching from Hotmail to something else for pathetic services. I do not have a single contact with Hotmail address today.

    MSFT is not known for quality, and, yes, it is loss to the world to have lost a good company to MSFT. But MSFT is not going to gain anything

    /troll

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356)
      I personally know many friends switching from Hotmail to something else for pathetic services. I do not have a single contact with Hotmail address today.

      The geek would live a freer, happier, life if he could surrender the delusion that he counts for much in Microsoft's world:

      Here are up-to-date numbers for a single country, Turkey:

      Turkey has a population of about 75 million.
      Of the 300 million MSN users worldwide, 25 million are Turkish.
      Turkey ranks third in using MSN Messenger.
      Turkey ranks first in t

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        If 65% are men and 22% are women, what are the other 13%?
      • by GauteL (29207) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:58AM (#23023874)
        "Here are up-to-date numbers for a single country, Turkey:"

        Those statistics being "single country" also makes them less valid on the world scale.

        I thought I smelled a fish when your statistics seemed to indicate that 1/3 of all Turks are "MSN users". This also means that if this [wikipedia.org] and this [internetworldstats.com] is correct, there are more MSN users than Internet users in Turkey. So let us just assume that EVERY single Internet user in Turkey is also an MSN user.

        Could this possibly be representative for the world?

        The answer is pretty obviously "no".
        If all your statistics are correct, Turkey accounts for approximately 8.3 % of the MSN users in the world, but less than 1.3% of the worlds internet users (based on 1.32 billion Internet users from here [wikipedia.org]).

        Either your numbers are completely wrong, or MSN is over 6 times as popular in Turkey as the average for Internet users. Either way, they are completely useless as proof of total MSN usage in the world.
        • by westlake (615356)
          Either your numbers are completely wrong, or MSN is over 6 times as popular in Turkey as the average for Internet users. Either way, they are completely useless as proof of total MSN usage in the world.

          Internet users aren't always to be found in the Cafe:

          Cenk Serder, was very visible at the recent Mobile World Congress, spending a lot of time talking to the press about his company's approach to a host of services. On instant messaging, he was making the point that in Turkey, where there are millions of W

    • by AndGodSed (968378)

      MHO, I don't think Microsoft is going to gain anything by taking over Apple, Yahoo OR Google.
      MS would for sure gain by buying out Apple or Google - Apple makes a better OS, and Google is a better online experience and makes better online products.

      If MS could buy them out and squash them it would. That is also true for mos Linux distro's - If MS could buy out Canonical (ubuntu) and others it would - but for now they are just threatening lawsuits...
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:17AM (#23022882) Homepage Journal
    If Microsoft is trying to convince anyone that its hostile takeover of Yahoo isn't evil, it's going in exactly the wrong direction.
    • If Microsoft is trying to convince anyone that its hostile takeover of Yahoo isn't evil, it's going in exactly the wrong direction.

      Why would they want to convince anyone that its not evil? What, and lose any support they might have in corporate America? I don't think so!

  • Pot, this is Kettle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ngarrang (1023425) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:19AM (#23022906) Journal
    From the article...
    "Microsoft immediately blasted the idea of a search advertising partnership between Yahoo and Google, saying it would be anticompetitive. âoeAny definitive agreement between Yahoo and Google would consolidate over 90 percent of the search advertising market in Googleâ(TM)s hands,â Microsoft said in a statement."

    For some reason, this cry for justice rings empty. Does Microsoft honestly think THEY can make such complaints given their own gregarious behavior?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Does Microsoft honestly think THEY can make such complaints given their own gregarious behavior?


      Yes, it's how psychopaths operate. The reality is that Microsoft can't even service their OS monopoly with a competitive product, watching them try to play in every single market is both amusing and frustrating. But let's not chastise them for it, the arrogance is already undoing them from the inside-out.
    • by wellingj (1030460) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:44AM (#23023084)
      True I don't have much sympathy but ad hominem is still a logically flawed argument.

      What MS says is logically true, I just don't happen to give a rats ass about them saying it.
      • by interiot (50685)

        It can be rephrased as a non-ad-hominem:

        Microsoft demonstrated several times that US's antitrust measures have no teeth. It's ironic that the one company that's so clearly demonstrated that, now hopes the regulators will change their approach.

        • It wasn't ad-hominem in the first place. But he did a good job being someone who read about logical fallacies on a website and thinks he's an expert. It makes academics like me who deal with this stuff for a livng pretty angry to have logical fallacies trivialized like that.
          • by wellingj (1030460)

            For some reason, this cry for justice rings empty. Does Microsoft honestly think THEY can make such complaints given their own gregarious behavior?

            I think it's pretty evident that the above is ad hominem attack trying to dissuade us from the main point that:

            Any definitive agreement between Yahoo and Google would consolidate over 90 percent of the search advertising market in Google's hands

            Which, while exaggerated, is still a logical argument. The state of the desktop market plays no bearing in the stateme

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by ThePromenader (878501)
      I couldn't care less who has the majority of the market - as long as they remain the best at what they do. Adobe for example, as far as media is concerned... but MS, with their crappy/bloated/condescending/virus-addled/insecure/monopolistic OS has no excuse - and can have no complaint in the matter. Google is an example to follow, not one to complain about.
    • Does Microsoft honestly think THEY can make such complaints given their own gregarious behavior?
      I believe the word that you wanted is egregious, but your spell checker changed to gregarious.
      Would you by chance, be running Windows with MS's new context checking software?
    • For some reason, this cry for justice rings empty. Does Microsoft honestly think THEY can make such complaints given their own gregarious behavior?


      Um, "gregarious" [reference.com]? WTF? "Egregious" [reference.com], maybe?
  • by bhunachchicken (834243) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:21AM (#23022918) Homepage

    Will this actually lure people away from Google? Right now the mentality is quite simply "Google It".

    I'm not sure we'll be hearing "Yahoo! It" or "MSN It" any time soon.

    It probably doesn't help that Google is the default search in Firefox either.

    • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:53AM (#23023810)

      Will this actually lure people away from Google? Right now the mentality is quite simply "Google It".

      I'm not sure we'll be hearing "Yahoo! It" or "MSN It" any time soon.

      It probably doesn't help that Google is the default search in Firefox either.
      There's probably some quote out there along the lines of much is forgiven of those who can deliver. People forgive Apple the smeck-headed egotism of Jobs and the acolytes because they still manage to deliver a solid product. People are worried about Google actually being evil but they turn out some really innovative products just dripping with ideas. Microsoft takes a lot of shit for being evil and the products they come out with are dull and uninspired.

      You can talk about propaganda and public relations and brainwashing when people say they have warm-fuzzies when thinking about Apple and Google. At the end of the day, though, people have to use their products. You can say it's marketing but a lot of people really, really like Apple and Google products. They can't all be kool-aid drinkers. If Jobs acts like an insufferable twat with the overbearing egotism of someone who thinks he's always right, well damnit, he usually is. We probably wouldn't dislike him as much if he turned out a Vista every once in a while. The Mac Cube was lame but not lame enough.
    • I'm not sure we'll be hearing "Yahoo! It" or "MSN It" any time soon.

      Probably not, but they might "'google it' on Yahoo!" much like people happily "hoover [wikipedia.org] with a Dyson [wikipedia.org]".
  • by faloi (738831) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:27AM (#23022962)
    It could've said "Microsoft and Newscorp have banded together to make the proper sacrifices to Cthulhu to ensure their bid for Yahoo! is accepted." At least then the circle of evil would be complete.
    • One of the most common search items on MSN Search is "Google"

      • Thats because most IE browsers are set to use MSN as their default search client, when someone gets on a new(to them) PC, or a PC with the history cleared and they type in google and hit , it goes to msn to look up the term they typed.
        Thats a clear message to MSN that they lost the "mindspace" of internet search for consumers, and I'm sure it gets Ballmer's panties in a wad.
    • by oldbamboo (936359)
      "I can assure you Lord Vader, this Microsoft Powered Website will be fully operation...oh...er...mouse doesn't seem to be moving..."
  • Yahoo doesn't want to be under you, get the hint.
    • by oahazmatt (868057)

      Yahoo doesn't want to be under you, get the hint.

      At this point, those at Microsoft do not care what would be preferred by those at Yahoo. The actions by Microsoft have an stench of inevitability.

      However, Yahoo may have done an excellent job of driving up the asking price. By denying Microsoft, News Corp. is becoming involved, and supposedly Time Warner, and let's not forget the Google rumours.

      Before, Yahoo had one option, an option that Microsoft felt Yahoo would eventually have to agree to. With the possibility of new potential buyers or investors

  • smells of sweat and fear...
  • by killjoe (766577) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:42AM (#23023062)
    Hey you've got right wing zealotry in my monopoly.

    Hey you've got monopoly in my right right wing politics.

    Ah two great evils that taste better together.
    • by oldbamboo (936359)
      News Corp & Microsoft & Yahoo!

      I keep trying to peer into my crystal ball to work out what it would be like to have these three monsters pawing each other while lurching towards my pocket, and it just sounds like a great big clusterfuck of 2nd grade mediocrity, failing to win any of my hard earned cash. This story is salutory in that it has more to do with the way all 3 (I'm including Yahoo!) companies perceive their daily grind, than it has to do with how good product is delivered to the masses,
  • by e03179 (578506) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @08:56AM (#23023206) Homepage
    MicroFOX!
  • Geez, that's like Dick Cheney talking to Osama Bin Laden.
  • by pcause (209643) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:12AM (#23023354)
    The recent announcement about Yahoo testing Adsense for search result advertising just proves that MS is right and that Yahoo is not a viable standalone entity. We need strong and serious competition for Google because the last thing the world needs is a monopoly on the source of revenue for ad properties. Yahoo has now admitted defeat and MS is willing to put up the challenge. Throw in Fox and we could have a real competitor for Google.

    Of course, combining 3 "also rans"doesn't mean we get a winner, just that we'll at least likely have a fight!
    • True enough, but, y'know, why spend all this money on lawyers just to make this thing happen just to have a bit of a limp struggle against the google-constrictor. What's the point? The three of them are screwed as an entity. They could no more pull a decent web presence out of this than I could pull a flaming, banjo-playing clown out of my ass.

      Anyway, google as a monopoly for a few years sounds quite nice. I like monopolies. Aren't monopolies what gave us all that stuff that isn't MS, that has allowed MS
    • In principal, I agree that viable competitors to Google is a common good. Looking at it from a business acquisition perspective, you would be wrong though.

      -As a general rule, upwards of 80% of acquisitions fail to bring "synergies" that are referenced as justification for mergers public relations. Most of them are done to eliminate competition and grow a balance sheet to fund the next acquisition.

      -The scale and managerial mediocrity of all companies in your post suggest that nothing viable would come out
  • AOL Bailout (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:32AM (#23023580) Journal
    From the article:

    Yahoo, which wants to remain independent, has been in a desperate search for white knights, holding conversations with Time Warnerâ(TM)s AOL and News Corporation.
    A Yahoo-AOL merger would make for one mediocre company. I don't think that will scare off giants like Microsoft and Google. In the end we will be left with just two companies, unless the SEC says otherwise.
    • by OakLEE (91103)

      A Yahoo-AOL merger would make for one mediocre company.

      I think that's the exact reasoning for making such a deal. Yahoo would get cash from Time Warner to buy back its stock (thwarting Microsoft), but it would also have to transfer AOL's operations onto its balance sheet, making it a less valuable company.

      Time Warner loves this of course, since it's been trying to get the AOL albatross off its neck basically since right after the two companies merged. The 20% stake it'll get in Yahoo-AOL is just a bonus.

      • by Thelasko (1196535)
        You may be right about that. However, if they poison the company like that, wouldn't the share price go down significantly so Microsoft would be able to buy them cheap?

        The AOL-Yahoo! merger might give the new company quite a bit of equity, but will the shareholders recognize that? or will they be blinded by the mismanagement?
  • by peipas (809350) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @10:01AM (#23023904)

    Microsoft immediately blasted the idea of a search advertising partnership between Yahoo and Google, saying it would be anticompetitive. "Any definitive agreement between Yahoo and Google would consolidate over 90 percent of the search advertising market in Google's hands," Microsoft said in a statement.
    *blinks*
  • by Ranger (1783)
    If either Micro$oft or News Corpse buys Yahoo! I'm canceling the email I have with them.
  • Ha-li-bur-ton!

    Ha-li-bur-ton!

    Ha-li-bur-ton!

    Ha-li-bur-ton!

    Where the Hell is Haliburton? We have Microsoft and Fox News, but without Haliburton the triumvirate of evil is not complete!
  • Foo (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Two evil supervillains joining forces? Won't that pose a clash of egos? How are FOX and MSNBC going to feel about this?
  • that you open and even though there is nothing tangible in it, "EEEEEEEEE-Villllllll!" is somehow heard....
  • Microsoft is famous for its monopolies. If we allow them to buy Yahoo and take over the internet then there will be nothing stopping them. We seem to mistake Google for being the bad guy over Privacy concerns but what happens when Microsoft owns all of the market. MicroHoo (no matter how crappy it will be) may be too overwhelming to Google. There wont be much of a competition on this front unless Google somehow gains more of the Market.
  • My first thought upon reading this is that it was an indication of how hellbent Microsoft seems on getting Yahoo. Second thought - that it would be a perfect type of story to post to /. Yeah, I also screamed "irony" with the part with Microsoft complaining of Google's search-market dominance.

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