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Microsoft Just Can't Quit Yahoo 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the oil-and-water dept.
itwbennett writes "Back in October, rumors surfaced (and then quickly subsided) that Microsoft was considering another bid to purchase Yahoo. Now the rumors are back, and this time Microsoft is said to be in talks with other prospective buyers about some kind of partnership to acquire the troubled Internet company."
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Microsoft Just Can't Quit Yahoo

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  • I have $5 (Score:4, Funny)

    by hedwards (940851) on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:07AM (#38163342)

    Perhaps I can buy Yahoo. On second thought, that's probably too steep.

    • Re:I have $5 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Friday November 25, 2011 @07:41AM (#38164574) Journal

      Everyone makes jokes but they seem to miss the big picture. I can tell you from my position running my little shop that the VAST majority of the common folk that walk through my door have Yahoo.com set as their home page. Sure we geeks think its a cluttered mess, but they love it. Also Yahoo Mail last I checked had the highest numbers of in use accounts of ANY other Webmail including Gmail.

      That is a HELL of a lot of eyeballs one can ads for and advertise your other products to. If the sweaty monkey can get it at a decent price instead of the scary billions he originally offered that Yang was frankly insane not to take? Well then it might actually be a win for the monkey.

      Of course if it is like everything else that dumbass touches he will completely cock the whole thing up, either ruin it with some horrible "Windows Live 2.0 Web Cloud Powered By Bing" kinda bullshit, or he'll let his Apple fetish go nuts and it'll be some bad iTunes style skinning. Ballmer seems bound and determined to fuck the company right into the ground and I'm sure he'll figure out a way to bone this. if I didn't know better I'd think Google had sent him as a mole to destroy the company, but sadly he is just "Apple Pepsi CEO" levels of stupid. See his desperate trying to push a cell phone GUI onto Windows in the vain hope he can get developers to make apps for a Windows tablet nobody actually wants for an example.

      BTW if anybody hasn't tried the Win 8 developer preview its out now for free and you really should give it a go. its got epic fail written on it so deep you're amazed it doesn't make your PC release a rancid shit smell when you run it.

      • BTW if anybody hasn't tried the Win 8 developer preview its out now for free and you really should give it a go. its got epic fail written on it so deep you're amazed it doesn't make your PC release a rancid shit smell when you run it.

        Mod parent informative! And pray for all the poor bastards doomed to run Win8. On the one hand, I think they should release it as-is, and thus spur mac and linux adoption. On the other hand, I worry that it will open a portal to R'lyeh. Either way, leave it to Microsoft to design the only interface that could make Unity look good. For certain values of 'good'.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        BTW if anybody hasn't tried the Win 8 developer preview its out now for free and you really should give it a go. its got epic fail written on it so deep you're amazed it doesn't make your PC release a rancid shit smell when you run it.

        So maybe 2012 will finally be the year of the Linux desktop, the year everyone stops using desktop OSs anyway.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        No, I'm not missing the big picture the idiots running Yahoo more or less ran themselves out of business. Unless they get a new and competent board I can't imagine things turning around.

        You'd be surprised at how much inertia factors into these things. How many of those people created those accounts recently versus still have them from years back? I personally still have a lycosmail account which I've had since before they acquired mailcity.

    • You're forgetting about the Yahoo Store (Paul Graham's old Viaweb) of which I operate a pretty big site www.carguygarage.com [carguygarage.com] From what I understand, it's one of Yahoo's most profitable parts. I know I pay them a bunch-o-money every month.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:11AM (#38163358) Homepage

    Yahoo does have some value to Microsoft. Its news, weather, and finance services are widely used. Users of those services overlap with Microsoft's customer base, and are good advertising targets for the things Microsoft sells.

    • by blackicye (760472)

      Yahoo does have some value to Microsoft. Its news, weather, and finance services are widely used. Users of those services overlap with Microsoft's customer base, and are good advertising targets for the things Microsoft sells.

      Unfortunately they (and everyone else) can develop and implement those services themselves at a fraction of the cost of acquiring them from Yahoo.

      • by Baloroth (2370816) on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:26AM (#38163410)
        The service itself isn't what is valuable. The name and user-base is.
        • Well, maybe the user base. Since Yahoo is using Microsoft's search engine technology, all Microsoft would be really doing is buying its indirect customer base.

        • Just offer something better*, and you'll see all those users change services, and the name lose all the value it now has. The only service Yahoo offers that users can't change easily is email.

          * Better from the point of view of the users, obviously. Of course, I don't know what that means, If I knew, I'd be making it, not posting here.

    • by wik33 (2505880)
      And specially for Bing too.
    • And sports. Yahoo Sports often beats ESPN's site.
  • by unixisc (2429386) on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:13AM (#38163372)
    Apple is the company that should buy them, and use iOS & Lion to do w/ them what WP7 does w/ Bing and Android does w/ Google. That's the only buyer that makes sense. Otherwise, which Yahoo! services are so valuable to make it worth adding another redundant search engine to the ones they already have? Hotjobs? Yahoo! Groups? Which ones?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      But who wants to use Yahoo anymore?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by wmac1 (2478314)
        Those who make it the 4th high traffic website of the world: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/yahoo.com [alexa.com]

        And from the same website, the highest share of traffic comes from:

        mail.yahoo.com 46.68%
        search.yahoo.com 23.99%
        yahoo.com 23.55%
        login.yahoo.com 26.03%
        news.yahoo.com 14.11%
        answers.yahoo.com 14.15%
        finance.yahoo.com 6.40%
        fantasysports.yahoo.com 1.90%
        sports.yahoo.com 5.82%
        cn.yahoo.com 1.74%
      • I use, and a lot.

        Its email sevice is better than gmail, by the way. It simply works, intead of globering the browser with uneeded javascript and changing every default action of every UI element.

        • by tehcyder (746570)

          I use, and a lot.

          Its email sevice is better than gmail, by the way. It simply works, intead of globering the browser with uneeded javascript and changing every default action of every UI element.

          To be fair, email systems in the 1980s had a better UI than gmail.

          But not having ever to worry about exceeding your mailbox limit is what made gmail popular, and you can't argue with a feature like that.

    • by blackicye (760472)

      Apple is the company that should buy them, and use iOS & Lion to do w/ them what WP7 does w/ Bing and Android does w/ Google. That's the only buyer that makes sense. Otherwise, which Yahoo! services are so valuable to make it worth adding another redundant search engine to the ones they already have? Hotjobs? Yahoo! Groups? Which ones?

      Why? When they can just lock their user base into an iSearch, iJobs, iGroups? The interface will look even better and the search results will essentially be the same anyway.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by SeaFox (739806)

        Why? When they can just lock their user base into an iSearch, iJobs, iGroups? The interface will look even better and the search results will essentially be the same anyway.

        Okay, I think you're missing the point here. There is no iSearch, iJobs, or iGroups. Apple doesn't have spiders crawling the Net or a big index of results already built up. The grandparent poster is suggesting Apple buy Yahoo and rebrand all their properties as you suggest rather than having to build them from scratch. There's no reason Apple couldn't redo the interfaces and give them hooks into OSX/iOS while keeping the valuable back end.

        • by bloodhawk (813939) on Friday November 25, 2011 @02:19AM (#38163586)
          I think you are missing the point. The value of someone like Yahoo is not their technology, it is their user base and brand, you can build the tech they have or license it many times cheaper than the cost of buying Yahoo and as apple tightly control their userbase Yahoo becomes a vastly overpriced company for them.
          • by unixisc (2429386)
            Both you and SeaFox are right. This way, Apple would get both - Yahoo!'s user base, and a readymade portfolio that doesn't need to be rebuilt from scratch. Yeah, Apple does have to determine the right price for Yahoo! and not overpay for the stock, but aside from that, this looks like it would be a perfect synergistic arrangement, w/ little redundancy anywhere. Whereas w/ either MS or Google, the only thing that would happen is hijacking Yahoo! users to either Bing or Google, not necessarily guaranteeing
          • by SeaFox (739806)

            Is there any reason Apple has to choose one brand or the other? They can use the same technology for both and just adapt the user interface to suit the type of user. Apple can keep plugging along with Yahoo's Search and Mail as they've been running the whole time and still do a separate tier of those services for their Macintosh/i-device customer base. Plus, having control of the Yahoo properties gets Apple access to new ways of reaching potential customers (without buying ad space from someone else). Apple

          • by gbjbaanb (229885)

            it definitely isn't the technology, not since they junked most of it and 'partnered with microsoft' to use bing for the searching.

        • by twistedemotions (231376) on Friday November 25, 2011 @02:38AM (#38163652)

          Apple doesn't have spiders crawling the Net or a big index of results already built up.

          As far as know, since the Microsoft/Yahoo search deal, Yahoo doesn't have those things either. Microsoft handles that for them. Yahoo Search is now just a front end for Bing.

          I suppose Apple could come up with a similar deal with Microsoft for iSearch. It's Yahoo's variety of other properties and brands that have the value now.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Friday November 25, 2011 @02:31AM (#38163630)

      That would have made sense the last time we went through this. Now that MS and Yahoo are in bed with each other on the search side of things I don't think yahoo has enough value for Apple to want to even consider it.

      The other thing is that yahoo would seriously hurt the apple brand. Apple is about new, hip, cool, yahoo is this (by today's standards) old internet company that those of us who had geocities e-mail accounts still use as yahoo accounts. No one in the reality distortion bubble of Apple is going to see acquiring yahoo as a step forward. If yahoo were 1/10th the size and made similar products it might make sense, but on a cheap day yahoo is a 15 billion dollar buyout, and is more like a 20-25 billion buyout to get complete ownership, that's a shitload of money for a huge big outfit and culture that wouldn't really fit with Apple.

      MS is a whole other ballgame. Merging yahoo and hotmail would give them a huge base to rival google with, and would bring them into a noticeable share of the search market, and give them a full on portal to the web that they've failed at miserably. All of the things wrong with yahoo for apple apply to MS, but MS has fucked up all of those things enough that buying yahoo might actually look like an improvement over whatever they can manage.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Merging yahoo and hotmail would give them a huge base to rival google

        Err, Yahoo/Rocketmail and Hotmail/Live both have more users than Gmail.

    • by Lord Kano (13027)

      About a month ago, I stated pretty much this same case to a co-worker when we were idly musing about yahoo's fate. Apple is in the perfect position to do this. In addition to yahoo's user base, they get the services and business model, flawed though it may be, to keep it running. In addition to the yahoo mail,. search and groups, launch iMail, iSearch and iGroups along side them and let yahoo's existing customers and advertisers subsidize it until it's ready to turn a profit.

      LK

      • by afabbro (33948) on Friday November 25, 2011 @02:48AM (#38163670) Homepage

        There is some logic in what you say. However, if I was on Apple's board, I'd be worried about tying up a ton of management time, energy, and focus. If you buy Yahoo, you buy big headaches - morale, layoffs, merging cultures, skeletons in the closet, hundreds of decisions about what to do with different properties (virtual and physical), many new vendor relationships, new legal relationships/issues, etc.

        And it wouldn't be a small purchase - we're still talking billions. Yes, Apple could afford it, but by size I mean king-sized issues. This isn't like buying some small startup with interesting tech where you roll into into yourself and six months later it's no longer part of your day-to-day worry. Buying a company the size of Yahoo will take X% of your management talent for a year or two.

        The questions are (a) how big is X, and (b) is what you get for that X% worth the headache and (more importantly) the opportunity cost.

        • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:07AM (#38163710) Homepage Journal
          All your fancy math aside, I can state simply that Apple would not acquire Yahoo because that would cheapen their brand. The layperson assumes that everything Apple makes is totally proprietary, top-notch, justifying a higher price. Apple's purchase of Yahoo would be a Frankenstein-esque grafting of some ugly diseased limb. People will lose respect for Apple because they will believe that Apple is "going plebian" and becoming uncool.

          I am not an Apple fanboy and will use any chance I can to ridicule Apple and its users, but I'm only being straight-up here. I know the feeling personally, because I lost a lot of respect for Java (then still overseen by SUN) when they started shoehorning the Yahoo Toolbar [java.com] in with Java installs. The move was cheap, tacky, and a huge disappointment overall.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by unixisc (2429386)
            The toolbar was one of the worst things about Yahoo!, but offering Yahoo! jewels like Finance, Flickr, Groups, Mail wouldn't cheapen Apple, as it would be just one of the peripheral things associated w/ Apple, such as Bonjour. For a merger, Apple could make it a simple merger w/ a stock swap, w/o trying to do expensive things such as merging corporate cultures and other such things. Yahoo! becoming a part of Apple won't change what iDevices look like, nor will it be a brand altering change to Apple.

            Ess
            • No way, bro. The genius of Apple's marketing is that everybody who buys an Apple gadget believes they are unique in owning one, despite the fact that everybody else owns an Apple gadget. Most importantly, though, is that Apple can and does give the public the impression that everything they do is top-notch, so they don't do a whole lot of it, even when its been done before.

              Contrast that to Microsoft and Google's approach - Both brands are diluted - Microsoft buys up all its second-rate competitors and s
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmai l . c om> on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:18AM (#38163748) Homepage

      Otherwise, which Yahoo! services are so valuable to make it worth adding another redundant search engine to the ones they already have? Hotjobs? Yahoo! Groups? Which ones?

      Yahoo! Groups are widely used, as is Yahoo! mail. It's finance pages are widely used as well.
       
      But one of the real jewels in their crown, and one most people don't associate with Yahoo - is Flickr. There's a huge community there, and it's not only one of the most powerful and fully featured photosharing sites... There's an extensive community of discussion boards as well. (These are nearly unique among the major photosharing sites AFAIK.)

    • I am pretty sure that Yahoo search uses Bing.
  • Users (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:18AM (#38163386) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft would just be buying Yahoo's users.

    Which is a shame, because yahoo voice chat was the best trolling on the internet. There was a bug where, if you got ignored, you could simply leave the room and come back. Those who ignored you couldn't see your posts, but they could hear your audio.

    My drunken friends and I spent many a night trolling the Christian chat rooms with pornographic recordings. Here's how we'd do it:

    First, every Christian chat room had its own resident loudmouth who would spout bible verses all night without relinquishing the mic. We would get him off by starting a feedback loop, placing our microphone directly in front of our speakers, causing the feedback to be fed through the windbag's speakers into his mic. The feedback would be so horrible that the guy would get off the mic.

    Next, with our mic at our speakers, we would play pornographic audio snippets from porn movies. The whole room would be exposed to those awful recordings and stir up into a frenzy of anger and disgust("I have kids in here listening to this with me!") and we would sit back and laugh, porn blaring, as they ignored us one by one. Then, thanks to the aforementioned bug, we'd leave the room and go back in.

    The best part was when some asshole tried to grab the mic and wouldn't relinquish it, but he wouldn't turn his speakers down so even if the whole room had ignored us, our porno-audio was still going through his speakers, into his mic, and being fed back into the room. Since he was so desperate to keep control of the mic, he lost either way, and the room was forced to hear pornographic audio.

    Finally, they would get smart and turn their speakers off. Then the person on the mic would start singing while the rest of the chat room fumed and ranted around him. It's like when a kid hears something he doesn't want to, cups his hands over his ears, and goes, "la-la-la-la-LAAAAAA."

    It was classic.
    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      Ok, please go back to 4chan now.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        You just can't appreciate the value of a good and valuable trolling.
        With religious schizos there is no such thing as a "bad trolling". ^^

    • Yahoo chatrooms were awesome, back in the day, before spam bots took over. It was a great way to troll people and get laid. Kind of like slashdot, but without the sex. Heterosexual sex, anyway.
  • If Microsoft bought Yahoo! would there be a mass exodus of Yahoo! users to Google services? People who just don't want to deal with Microsoft. Plus, hasn't Yahoo! been losing money hand over fist for the last few years. Why spend billions on something which had it's heyday and can't turn a buck?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Plus, hasn't Yahoo! been losing money hand over fist for the last few years.

      It's the perfect synergy with what is apparently Microsoft's online strategy of seeing how much money one can loose on the internet.

  • Given Yahoo's foray into the media business, I seriously wonder what the benefit to Microsoft is?

    Somehow I don't see Microsoft getting into the media business and while their online services have been hit-and-miss in the past, it isn't like Yahoo is going to bring anything of value to their online platform.
  • by Soupster (1242846) on Friday November 25, 2011 @01:55AM (#38163502)
    If you look at their quarterly reports Yahoo is quite profitable actually, and they are still the third most used website on the internet. In terms of user minutes they trail only slightly behind Facebook (#1) and Google (#2).

    Additionally, their patents have separate value [forbes.com] that can be quite powerful if used offensively, as all the smartphone manufacturers are doing now.
    • From what I've noticed, though I don't have any data to back this up, Yahoo is significantly more popular in non-english speaking countries than Google is. Most of my Japanese friends, for example, have Yahoo mail accounts, and Yahoo Japan as their home page.

      • Same in Hong Kong, Taiwan and I think in Thailand. Chinese people that I have asked about this say that they prefer the cluttered search page of Yahoo to the clean one of Google.

        • It's because when they say it, it rhymes with "booger".

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          This is both surprising and unsurprising to me. On the one hand Chinese web pages tend to be a clusterfuck of colours and words all over the page. But on the other hand Baidu has a very clean search engine google style and is the most popular in China. Not sure about other South East Asian countries.

      • by tsotha (720379) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:26AM (#38163996)
        Yahoo Japan is actually a different company. I think they were part of Yahoo originally, but were spun off.
      • Same in Romania ... everybody has a Yahoo Messenger account (which BTW is a horrible application) and all the clueless people (most people) have a Yahoo Mail account as their main account.

      • by shione (666388)

        Yahoo is super popular in Japan. Even Yahoo auctions which nobody else uses outranks ebay in Japan.

  • by drgroove (631550) on Friday November 25, 2011 @02:36AM (#38163648)
    Yahoo! should merge with Ask, AOL, and Lycos. They could call themselves That 90's Web Company.
    • by miahmiah (1325117)
      Needs a better name, but I agree!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft + Yahoo! + AOL in the 1990s was our biggest fear. Now it is a joke. Oddly enough free market does balance itself. While people worry about things that can happen in 10 - 20 years few have the patients to wait it out.
      If you are the big guy on the block you will get lasy and a new disruptive technology will come and you find one night that you are a now and old fart of a company. It will happen to Google, it will happen to Apple.

  • ...it's all about the patents that Yahoo! owns.
  • Already a done deal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:08AM (#38163714)

    A co-worker of mine is leaving to join Yahoo on Monday. He was told yesterday that within three months he will be a Microsoft Employee. He is not best pleased as he is an Open Source devotee. He is talking with a lawyer today to see if he can walk out of the contract.

    I talked to an Analyst yesterday and he says that MS are getting Yahoo on the cheal. Like $1B cheap. The rest of the money is coming from Microsoft's usual investment partners, Silverlake Capital and a Canadian company(forgot the name at the moment).

    I think the model for this is the MS/Nokia deal. From my pals at Nokia, it seems that MS rules in everything but name. Many of the very scandinavian working practices are slated for being consigned to the history books.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I feel the same way... and I'm not even looking to work at Yahoo.. I just need to move my mail away. I'm pissed that Microsoft will have access to my archived mail and know more about me than I do.
      Doesn't Yahoo delete your mail a few months after you do it?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A co-worker of mine is leaving to join Yahoo on Monday. He was told yesterday that within three months he will be a Microsoft Employee. He is not best pleased as he is an Open Source devotee. He is talking with a lawyer today to see if he can walk out of the contract.

      LO-fucking-L.

    • It was a done deal the last time too. It ended up not to be that well done.

      On the feet of your co-worker, I'd be concerned too. As a user of Yahoo, I'm also concerned, and living before the boat sinks. But as an expectator, I still expect the deal to not go on.

    • A co-worker of mine is leaving to join Yahoo on Monday. He was told yesterday that within three months he will be a Microsoft Employee. He is not best pleased as he is an Open Source devotee.

      If he's a FOSS devotee making a principled stand, what difference does it make for him that he works for one big corp or the other, so long as neither of them are Google?

      If he's just afraid that there's no way to work on FOSS or using FOSS in Microsoft, then he's plainly mistaken.

  • Yahoo is interesting because it offers up categories of things, no? I just Google, so I have no clue. Google has more than enough to absorb my time and world.

    Watch Google bid it up..lol.

  • Partnering with Microsoft is a poisoned chalice. Look what they did to Novell.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      how could you poison yahoo?
      seriously.

      the only yahoo service worth shit (for users) is flickr.

      and to the ac's.. his friend is an idiot, didn't he check at all where he was going to work(open source devotee, has problems for working for ms but not for yahoo? wtf, I hope he's trolling) and wtf, he could walk out on the contract if he is just starting there. provided he has another job to go to.
      "I think the model for this is the MS/Nokia deal. From my pals at Nokia, it seems that MS rules in everything but name

  • If the reference is that Microsoft wants to sodomize Yahoo ala Jake Gyllenhaal's gay cowboy character then sir I offer you a hearty golf clap indeed.

  • Makes sense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday November 25, 2011 @09:02AM (#38164790) Journal

    Every time Microsoft tries to buy Yahoo and then changes it's mind, Yahoo's stock value plunges. Do this enough times and eventually they can pick up Yahoo for pocket change.

  • They are still trying to beat everyone at their own games instead of coming up with something interesting themselves. An infusion of 273.1 million faithful users from the second largest email provider would help them lock people into their Windows Live! infrastructure (email, phones, OS, cloud services)
  • After buying Yahoo, it is rumored that Microsoft plans to buy Myspace, Pets.com, and the patent rights to Betamax.

  • by jjmiv (1195457)
    i really like my yahoo email address. i would HATE for it to be crapped up my microsoft.

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