Given that Microsoft's offer to buy Yahoo is all about the Internet, it seems appropriate to find out how the online world — namely...
Given that Microsoft’s offer to buy Yahoo is all about the Internet, it seems appropriate to find out how the online world — namely, the blogosphere — reacted to news about the proposed deal.
Here’s a sampling:
Jeff Jarvis, Buzz Machine: Yahoo, I’ve long argued, is the last old media company, for it operates on the old-media model: It owns or controls content, markets to bring audience in, then bombards us with ads until we leave. … It’s appropriate, then, that Yahoo is being bought by what one could say is the last old technology company, Microsoft. For Microsoft still operates on a model of control: closed in an open era. They will get along well together.
Mary Jo Foley, All about Microsoft: Microsoft has been beefing up its online-advertising-focused investments for months now by buying a variety of smaller companies which own pieces of the online advertising pie. Until now, the biggest acquisition Microsoft had ever made was online-advertising powerhouse aQuantive, which it bought last year.
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While that buy had substantial impact on Microsoft’s overall strategy and priorities, it still didn’t result in Microsoft becoming more of an advertising vendor than a software vendor. But a Yahoo purchase would irrevocably change the kind of company Microsoft is.
Robert Scoble, Scobleizer: … what makes Yahoo/Microsoft interesting is the e-mail audience. That’s another 300 million people to add to Hotmail’s audience of close to the same. Yahoo has a ton of interesting Web properties that are far more interesting than anything Microsoft has done lately. Groups. Finance. Upcoming. Etc.
This gets Microsoft back into the Web game in a big way and puts a defense around Microsoft’s Office cash-generating-machine. I bet that some of Yahoo’s smartest engineers get moved over to the Office team to help build an online Office that’ll keep Google’s docs and spreadsheets from getting major marketshare inroads.
Saul Hansell/ New York Times Bits: For Microsoft, trying to build a new Internet portal-search engine-advertising network-cloud computing company will be trying to make a new interplanetary spaceship out of an old Soyuz capsule and Skylab while hurtling through the cosmos. The parts are temperamental; the systems are delicate; and the risk of catastrophic failure is ever-present.
Slashdot: This highly popular tech Web site draws (usually pungent) comments from the techie universe on issues of the day. Here are a few on the deal.
• “As it is, I suspect the deal will be approved (the shareholders will love it and I can’t see the ineffectual monopoly police batting an eyelid over this “because MS isn’t a monopoly on the internet”) but I don’t think it’s going to do MS much good in the long run. Yet another brand run into the ground.”
• “This deal makes a lot of sense for Microsoft … but I can’t see how this is at all good for Yahoo! or the marketplace at large. Is the plan to re-brand everything as Microsoft Live! (keeping the exclamation mark) — thus destroying pretty much the only thing Yahoo! has going for it — brand recognition? I would be very sad to see Yahoo! and their odd collection of services get subsumed and destroyed in a merger with Microsoft.”
• “A purchase by Microsoft will almost certainly reduce the number and amount of contribution to the open source environment. … [I]sn’t this exactly what the Sherman Act was designed to prevent?”
Owen Thomas, ValleyWag: It’s not surprising that Microsoft seized this moment to issue its $44.6 billion offer. Yahoo’s poor earnings and gloomy forecast provided one opening; management’s incompetent dithering over layoffs provided another.
It’s possible that Yahoo might somehow escape Microsoft’s grasp. But whatever course Yahoo takes from here, it’s clear that it will be even further diminished. Yahoo will be best remembered in business schools, where it’s taught as a case study: How quickly tech empires can fall.
Henry Blodget, Silicon Alley Insider: Microsoft has made numerous overtures to Yahoo over the years, this being by far the most aggressive. By going public with the offer, Microsoft is seeking to “pull a Murdoch” — going over the heads of Yahoo’s management team straight to independent shareholders, in the hopes that the shareholders will force management to sell. This is the same play Murdoch used so brilliantly to swipe Dow Jones from the Bancroft family.
Larry Dignan, Between the Lines: Microsoft must be sensing that it has one big shot to catch Google in the search wars and Yahoo is the best way to make it happen. Google is still executing well, but there are worries about growth. On the surface, Microsoft’s bid is out of character, but given acquisitions like aQuantive it’s clear that Ballmer is thinking a little like Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. In October, Ballmer said Microsoft would eventually dunk on Google — looks more like a roll-up to me.
Kevin Kelleher, GigaOm: Let’s sit down a minute and think about what a Microsoft-owned Yahoo will mean.
Yahoo has been admirably laissez-faire with Flickr and del.icio.us. Will they be preserved or folded into services we’ve all eschewed? How will Yahoo mail accounts be reconciled with Hotmail accounts? Will those of us who use Yahoo Finance and all its features adapt to MSN Finance? What is MSN Finance?
A 62 percent premium, hmmm — we Yahoo users have a new choice: Learn to love life under Ballmer, or migrate to Google.
Mini-Microsoft, anonymous Microsoft employee: If the buy goes through, it will be one huge turning point for Microsoft: I think we’ll either turn it around brilliantly and our mega-investment will be worth it, or we’ll be turn asunder and revert back to our core cash cows. It will be a story worth telling, one way or the other. In the meantime, that big huge money-chest is going to go empty, and that might bring a new sense of clarity to our operations.