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Microsoft Going After Yahoo! Again 218

Corrupt writes "Microsoft on Monday released a letter that supports investor activist Carl Icahn's efforts to unseat Yahoo's board, as well as confirming its interest to explore a bid to buy the entire company, or just its search assets, with a new board."
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Microsoft Going After Yahoo! Again

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  • ...adapt to their defenses and continue assimilation.

    • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Monday July 07, 2008 @09:54AM (#24083805) Journal

      ...adapt to their defenses and continue assimilation.

      Having big boobs and a catsuit [wikipedia.org] helps too ;)

    • by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:05AM (#24083955) Homepage
      The only reason they're doing so is because Yahoo's shareholders can see that it makes sense.
      • by ThatDamnMurphyGuy ( 109869 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:10AM (#24084023) Homepage

        Sure, it's great for the shareholders. Unfortunately, it's a disaster for the internet and its users. Flickr with Silverlight? No thanks. Yahoo Mail -> Live conversion? No thanks. Replacing YUI with .NET AJAX? No thanks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by kg9ov ( 611270 )
          Thus the problem with publicly traded companies... the only thing that matters are the shareholders.
          • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:39AM (#24085385) Journal

            That's the silliest thing ever to say. You could just as easily say, "in a privately held company, the only thing that matters are the owners." You might say one is better than the other, but it's a pointless argument that totally depends on the situation. The mafia can be the owner of a private company, they can't be the owner of a public company, and I would much rather have shareholders coming after me than the mafia.

            In any company, a lot of things matter: shareholders or owners, employees, customers, business partners....the fact is if you are depending on ANY company to "look out" for your best interest, you are highly naive. That's pretty much how life is, everyone is looking out for their own interest.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 07, 2008 @12:03PM (#24085805)

              But a US corporation has to put their shareholders interests above all else mandated by law. Lots of things matter but customers, employees, partners, etc all play second and third sheet music with the shareholder.

              • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @02:50PM (#24088081) Journal
                How many times do we have to see this tripe modded informative?

                A US corporation does NOT have to put shareholder interest #1 by law. A US corporation is free to act against shareholder interest as established in the corporate charter. Plenty of "green" corporations have clauses about environmental responsibility in their charter that are detrimental to the profit interests of thre shareholders, yet this is not illegal.

                Futhermore, it is not illegal to act against the interests of the shareholders. It can result in a civil liability to be decided in a tort case, but it is not against the law.

                Lots of things matter but customers, employees, partners, etc all play...

                What do you think a partner is? It's an owner. It's obvious to me that you have *NO* idea wat you're talking about.

                As for customers, employees, etc being second or third fiddle to owners, most ownership knows that investing the right amount into customer and employee relationships literally pays dividends (for dividend-paying stocks :)). Serving the shareholder (owner) means serving the customers and employees, within reason. Note that sharholder == owner.

                There are lots of problems with how joint-stock corporations operate, and I agree that things would be much nicer if they changed... but when owners demand crap, their companies produce crap. The problem is not really with the corporations' structure, the problem is with the owners (shareholders) of the corporations.

                Rant as you will against corporations, it's people who make the decisions, the same as with any business.

          • by KZigurs ( 638781 )

            No, not really. Customer has to be blamed too.
            Customer that takes up shit rationalizes decision to feed shit by boards. In a dream world where customer would demand at least some kind of quality versus quick gratification it would be rational for shareholders to push for quality.
            It's all about picking the rational decision that will maximize revenue. Revenue is generated by customers (generally).

        • by mitgib ( 1156957 )

          Yahoo Mail -> Live conversion? No thanks.

          Why? You might actually start getting all your mail then.

        • Why down on Silverlight? Am I the only person who hopes that Adobe has some real competition for once?

          • You must be new here. Anything MS is bad!

            Anyways, I agree with you. Adobe needs some real competition. In my mind they are worse than MS in many ways.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

            Because you will end up with a very badly crippled silverlight on any other platform than Windows. Oh sure they might put out a decent Apple version since they aren't really playing for the high end market that Apple courts,but you can bet your bottom dollar that Linux will end up with a crappy,half baked,more likely to crash than work version if they end up with anything at all. Classic Embrace,Extend,Extinguish. They will say that a later version has functions that can only be derived from our excellent W [wikipedia.org]

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by HermMunster ( 972336 )

            The problem with silverlight is that it is not a necessary product. This is proven year after year as we have not had a need for it, hence it didn't exist.

            What silverlight is, is a monopoly corporation's attempting to nasty up the playing field by using their monopoly in one field to gain a monopoly in another.

            It isn't bringing about new features or better programming. It's about the same with a little bit here different and a little bit there. Maybe it is good for programmers but the programmers only nee

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Microsoft shareholders, on the other hand, should be screaming bloody murder.

    • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

      So, the logical conclusion is that we need to input a sleep command into the Microsoft collective. Surely then, after a couple of hours, their Redmond HQ and other cubes will spontaneously explode.

      • by jeiler ( 1106393 )
        That always seemed like such a lame ending to that particular episode. "Sleep"--what the hell kind of "Destroy the Borg" command is that? "Drop defenses" I can see. "Power down weapons" makes sense. Hell, "Shut down the garbage compactors on the detention level" had more class!
  • by ClaraBow ( 212734 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:00AM (#24083879)
    As a yahoo user, I feel strangely threatened. I can't explain it, but it"s like a bad ex-girlfriend who just can't accept no for an answer.
    • Yahoo users feel one way Yahoo shareholders feel another way. :-) We'll see which group yields the most influence
    • by D Ninja ( 825055 )

      As a yahoo user, I feel strangely threatened. I can't explain it, but it"s like a bad ex-girlfriend who just can't accept no for an answer.

      You're on Slashdot. Don't even pretend you know what the world girlfriend means. And especially don't pretend you know what it means to actually break up one!

  • Lets get a count (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:01AM (#24083891) Journal

    Who here find this surprising? Didn't think so.

    And we are supposed to believe that MS can create competitive products? It doesn't look much like that. sad.

  • by molotovjester ( 1273662 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:04AM (#24083935) Homepage

    Microsoft is showing how scared it is of losing the online search battle. Maybe because it realizes that it is also losing ground rapidly in software.

    The nice thing about Rome is that we still have lots of pretty statues...too bad the same can't be said about old code.

  • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:08AM (#24083989)

    I thought about buying stock in Microsoft, but this behavior appears to be out of spite rather than a sound business decision.

    Microsoft buying Yahoo would only have made sense if they never had MSN in the first place. It is buying a competitor to compete with its own products and if they intend to only shut it down or merge it with MSN, its only going to bleed massive amounts of money from MSFT in the process.

    The smartest decision would be to let Yahoo die on its own and focus on more "fresh" markets or ones that is truly their bread and butter like Xbox, Office, and Windows. There is no need for it to dominate a market that is firmly entrenched in Google by aquring Yahoo. If nothing else it only helps Google and people who are short selling MSFT.

    • Microsoft buying Yahoo would only have made sense if they never had MSN in the first place. It is buying a competitor to compete with its own products and if they intend to only shut it down or merge it with MSN, its only going to bleed massive amounts of money from MSFT in the process.

      Just like Google buying YouTube made sense because there was no Google Video, and Yahoo buying Jumpcut only made sense because there was no Yahoo Video.

      Or, this could be exactly business as usual in the industry.

      • by Raenex ( 947668 )

        I thought Google paid way too much for YouTube, but at least they bought the company with the most market share. Microsoft wants to spend a ton on a company in decline. What are they going to do with it?

        • Well, to be fair, Yahoo in general may not be awesome, but there are some products of theirs that are pretty good. I prefer Yahoo's news setup to Google's or Microsoft's. Flickr is pretty good. Yahoo video is probably technically superior to YouTube at this point, if still much lacking in market share. Yahoo Answers is without equal.

          I don't get the idea of wanting to buy Yahoo's search, though. Live Search's problem isn't that it's technically inferior to Google at this point (though it may be) -- its

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by paazin ( 719486 )
      I find it bizarre that the financial folks out there considered Yahoo's possible buyout by Microsoft an absolute boon to both companies and thought Jerry Yang was an absolute moron for standing in the way - do they have their heads completely up their asses?
    • This MSFT/YHOO nonsense is a testament to how unownable both stocks are. If MSFT thinks they need YHOO to survive, they are so misguided that they need to overhaul their decision calculus methods. YHOO not taking that deal to begin with was a joke. Their turnaround plan is basically vaporware! They should change their symbol to DNF already!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times ( 778537 )

      Yeah, I'd like an explanation as to what MS gets by buying Yahoo. Are they going to use any particular technology, or are they just trying to buy the userbase? If the latter, then it makes me wonder how much of the userbase will stay when everything is converted to MS brands.

      Like, if Microsoft ditches the Yahoo webmail and implements their own, ditches the chat client and makes Yahoo users use the MSN chat client, then how many users stick around? Or does Microsoft leave all of that intact?

      I'm not read

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think this deal will be the doom of MS. The one thing that MS has going for it right now is a large cash reserve. This purchase will actually put MS heavily into debt. Yahoo is profitable but not wildly profitable as to pay back the purchase price. Even if they took over Google's position, they'd still be in debt. Financially, for this merger to work, they'd have to run Google out of the market. Even if they managed that, others are likely to follow in Google's place.
      • Which is why a big portion of the offer isn't cash, its MSFT funny money.

      • If I had $10 every time someone proclaimed something to be the "doom of Microsoft" I'd have more money than Bill Gates. Give the hyperbole a rest; at worst this will be a slightly bad business decision. Fox buying MySpace wasn't the doom of either. Neither was Time-Warner buying AOL.

  • Death of Yahoo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by miffo.swe ( 547642 )

    If yahoo would sell its search business i seriously doubt it will survive many months. I dont think Carl Icahn will let a single dime from any eventual sale of the search business go anywhere but straight into the stock owners pockets. Just like Google Yahoo cant gather any users without its search business regardless of what services they might have.

    If they sell Yahoo it has to be in whole or they will waste the total value of the company for a very small one-time gain.

    As a computer user i would really lik

    • If they sell Yahoo it has to be in whole or they will waste the total value of the company for a very small one-time gain.
      That's the modus operandi of Carl Icahn see TWA circa 1985. Btw calling him an activist investor is like calling Genghis Khan an activist equestrian.
    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      just to see Microsofts faces when every single user jumps ship to Google instead

      There are those who are using AT&T DSL, which is hosted through Yahoo!. Harder for those guys to jump ship.

  • by broothal ( 186066 ) <christian@fabel.dk> on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:12AM (#24084041) Homepage Journal

    It seems like Microsoft is preparing to go without yahoo: http://www.ovum.com/news/euronews.asp?id=7136 [ovum.com]

  • This stuff shouldn't be a surprise, in other industries this type of thing goes on all the time. Make an offer, have it rejected, sweeten it etc until the shareholders start selling. Eventually the big shareholders sell when the pot is sweet enough. For Yahoo, it may be a stretch to say they aren't interested at all, they just aren't interested in the present offer. Remember, in the free market, everyone has their price. The question really is how much will MS overpay for Yahoo if they want it that badly.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      This stuff shouldn't be a surprise, in other industries this type of thing goes on all the time.

      In other industries, there's usually a sound business reason for a takeover. A Microsoft/Yahoo takeover would be a disaster for both companies.

  • PowerSet (Score:5, Funny)

    by oahazmatt ( 868057 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:16AM (#24084091) Journal
    Didn't Microsoft already decide to abandon the quest for Yahoo! and purchase the search technology from PowerSet?

    To be a fly on the wall in these meetings:
    Ballmer: Let's buy Yahoo.
    Board Member: They won't sell.
    Ballmer: Did you ask them, or tell them?
    Board Member: A little of both.
    Ballmer: Did you say we'll be their best friend?
    Board Member: Yeah, but Yang just watched Pirates of Silicon Valley and isn't fooled.
    Ballmer: Is that the movie with Johnny Depp, or the good one with Jenna Jameson?
    Board Member:...
    Ballmer: What's this "PowerSet" thing?
    Board Member: That's a start-up Websearch company. They're doing a lot of what we want to do with Live search.
    Ballmer: Great! Buy it!
    Board Member: Okay, so I guess that takes care of the Yahoo--
    Ballmer: Buy them, too!
    Board Member: What? Why? Powerset will--
    Ballmer: They're working with Google! It's anti-competitive! We have to buy them! And it will make Live search even stronger after we incorperate SourPet--
    Board Member: PowerSet--
    Ballmer: Whatever! Just buy Yahoo so we can say we're not anti-competitive.
    Board Member: You want to purchase two separate Internet search systems, incorperate them into our failed system, to avoid anti-competitive practices?
    Ballmer: Finally! It's like talking to a brick wall sometimes, y'know?
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:19AM (#24084137) Journal
    give me the ball puppy, drop the ball, give me the ball puppy, drop the ball puppy, puppy drop the ball, puppy give me the ball, drop the ball puppy puppy drop the ball, puppy, PUPPY GIVE ME THE BALL, drop the ball puppy, give me the ball, drop it,, drop it, drop the ball
  • by notaprguy ( 906128 ) * on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:20AM (#24084157) Journal
    Fortun'e take on this is interesting (http://money.cnn.com/2008/07/03/technology/kirkpatrick_search.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2008070405). They're arguing that Microsoft's pursuit of Yahoo has little to do with competing with Google on technology...because Google's innovation is not in technology. They're competing with Google's business model. This strikes me as very similar to some of the criticisms I hear on Microsoft: they don't innovate in technology - they innovate in business model (e.g. realizing that Windows/OS's was a good business). It's intersting to see the mainsteam media starting to catch onto Google as business innnovator but not a technology innovator. I mostly agree with two big exceptions. One is that Google clearly has some decent search algorithms. Nothing that can't be equaled or beaten but they do provide decent search results. Two, while invisible to us, they must have some pretty amazing software to manage their datacenters. The irony there is that this innovation is more similar to enterprise software...the old boring on-premise stuff that Google likes to trash.
    • "Fortun'e take on this is interesting .. [slashdot.org] They're competing with Google's business model"

      Insert free advert for Live Search .. :)

      "This strikes me as very similar to some of the criticisms I hear on Microsoft: they don't innovate in technology - they innovate in business model"

      This is new to me, that Ms 'innovate in business model', if by innovate you mean lean on the the OEMs to keep other companies technology off their Desktop, then I can acquiesce to that. Do you have any other examples of Microso
    • by ukyoCE ( 106879 )

      I largely disagree with the suggestion that Google hasn't been a technology innovator. As you point out, their search engine won out because it was massively better search technology than the competition. Then you've got Gmail and Google Maps which took Ajax and web-based-apps to a new level, crushing the competition with better technology. Google also has major innovations in using MapReduce and commodity hardware infrastructure that allows them to scale their technologies extremely cheaply and reliably

  • for goodness sake, WHY? Seriously. Does Microsoft really think Yahoo will help them? It'll just make a bloated conglomerate even more bloated with extraneous staff and duplicate job junctions. Sure, some of those will be weeded out, but dammit, when will MS get the point that they don't need to be BIGGER, they need to be LEANER and more efficient in doing things. Get rid of redundant redundancy. Stop having 12 guys work on the Start menu. And you wonder why their products are so bloody crappy now. W

  • I usually use babelfish to make words translations, but I was shocked to be redirected from babelfish.altavista.com to babelfish.yahoo.com the other day.

    Has Yahoo! bought AltaVista? Wouldn't their new combined marketshare make them an even bigger threat for Microsoft?

    What if Yahoo! is in the process of buying all the once-major players? (WebCrawler, AltaVista, etc)

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      What if Yahoo! is in the process of buying all the once-major players? (WebCrawler, AltaVista, etc)

      Whoa, then maybe Yahoo! could buy itself.

    • Yahoo bought Altavista and AllTheWeb years ago.
      All those former well known web search services are just brands for Yahoo search.
      btw. Bablefish is just a brand name around the underlying third party software "Systran".

  • Hes solely in it for the money.
  • When was the first contact between Icahn and Microsoft regarding the yahoo takeover bid?

    Exactly when did Icahn start buying yahoo shares?

    Who complained to the justice department over the yahoo/google deal?

    Who approached in relation to the MS/Yahoo takeover bid?

    What exactly is the quid pro quo in Icahn helping out Microsoft on the acquisition?

    "I do believe the following -- that this company, yahoo!, is a very strategic and important acquisition for microsoft"

    "The only way, you know, that m
    • Who complained to the justice department over the yahoo/google deal?

      Apparently, someone who didn't consider the fact that if it worked against a Yahoo/Google merger, it would likely work against a Yahoo/Microsoft merger as well...

      On the other hand, I suppose they may have realized that it wouldn't actually work, but the thought that it might would add useful pressure on Yahoo...

      Even if it wouldn't have worked against a Yahoo/Google merger, I suppose there's still hope that it might work against a Yahoo/Mi

  • by Alzheimers ( 467217 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @10:44AM (#24084487)

    Yahoo peaked when it released Yahoo Mail. They haven't really done anything new or innovative or even relevant since.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )

      so why do you think Microsoft/Balmer is so hell bent on shutting them down?

      And if yahoo is so bad, how bad can Microsoft's MSN be since they are still in a distant 3rd place?

      So either Microsoft is a technological failure and can't code a search engine to find an index.html page if it was on their own site, or it is that AND they need to eliminate 2nd place before the 2nd place advertisers move to Google instead of Microsoft. Just like how they grew MS Exchange by purchasing Hotmail and claiming them in mark

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Actually, Yahoo did innovate still: they introduced Yahoo Groups - preceeding Google. Then there's Yahoo Finance, which is one of the most comprehensive and popular resources on corporate investments. More Yahoo services inroduced after Mail:

      Yahoo Answers.
      Babelfish - ok, not their innovation at all, and not really all that of an innovation anyway, but it's still the best translator on the WWW.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jay L ( 74152 ) *

        Actually, Yahoo did innovate still: they introduced Yahoo Groups

        IIRC, most of the eyeballs came from eGroups, which they bought and merged into Yahoo Groups. (and eGroups itself was a merger of eGroups and OneList.)

        When Yahoo! took over, the groups gradually became less useful; the worst was interstitial ads, which would show up every once in a while when you clicked on a message. Given that the search function could only search N messages at a time, this made groups fairly useless. You'd try to search f

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dodobh ( 65811 )

        Flickr and Yahoogroups were companies purchased by Yahoo! !innovation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      You mean like Yahoo Zimbra [zimbra.com], Yahoo Shine [yahoo.com], or even Yahoo Widgets [yahoo.com]?

      Or even Yahoo OpenID [yahoo.com]

    • Yahoo! Finance is good, but I still use other sites most of the time anyway.
  • <frankenstein_voice>Ballmer get what Ballmer wants.</frankenstein_voice>
    • And yes, I know that Frankenstein was the doctor not the monster. But <no_name_voice>...</no_name_voice> didn't have the desired affect.
  • by EjectButton ( 618561 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:09AM (#24084877)
    when did corporate raider get changed to "investor activist"? I must have missed that memo.

    Also Icahn and his ilk have no interest in real "investment", he simply wants to boost the stock price long enough to dump it. They don't understand or care that the two companies are a horrible match technology wise, management wise, and corporate culture wise and that a merger between the two would leave Yahoo an empty shell a year later.

    Apparently when you are a sufficiently large publicly traded corporation it is expected that you adopt short-sighted suicidal tendencies.
  • by Rog7 ( 182880 ) on Monday July 07, 2008 @11:52AM (#24085607)

    At this point, considering the approach, I strongly suspect that Microsoft is less interested in purchasing Yahoo! as they are in just removing Yahoo! from the field.

    This sort of corporate business makes me weep for our entire culture. =/

  • Don't believe anything Microsoft says.

    This is all about getting control of the AT&T DSL e-mail accounts that Yahoo provides.

  • think of the users? There may be some money in this short term, but in the end it's going to hurt the internet community as a whole.

Thrashing is just virtual crashing.