Sunday, February 03, 2008

Microsoft and Yahoo! -- Stay on Target?

We Microsofties and Yahoos just entered some interesting times. Thank goodness we can take a break from talking about Win7 M1 leaks for a while. And thanks for the quality of comments in the previous post.

(Update: Google just posted about Yahoo! and Microsoft: Yahoo! and the future of the Internet - things are going to get real interesting.)

Here's a check-in on what TechMeme looked like at the end of the day on Friday the first. I'm not even going to begin to try to point to interesting articles: there is an abundance. Most cluster around "two wrongs don't make a right." Some are extreme in how bad an idea this is, and others are extreme in how good an idea this is. I like those that bring up the spirit of competition, saying that the combined entity would give a serious option to Google (which would help with prices) and that it would keep Google sharp and competitive (good for Google fans).

I've spent time checking in with various people I know to hear their opinion about the hosti- er - unsolicited offer and how it might impact them.

(I found out if you really want to piss some people off, send them an email with snarky Yahoo! questions. They've gone through disclosure and, man, they don't want to do that again. And I guess neither do I. So, no more electronic Y! trail there. Word to the wise.)

Reactions from most Microsofties: talk to me in a year.

No one anticipates anything happening by the end of this year, between the additional financial courting that might happen between Yahoo! and other suitors and then the subsequent complicated international regulatory phase. During a US election year, to boot. Here Nellie was getting bored and trawling through Office protocols. Consider this an early Valentine, Ms. Kroes. Mmmm-wha!

There's no way this is happening fast. Microsofties in groups most affected by a Yahoo! acquisition are plowing ahead, course unchanged, for the foreseeable future. No thoughts around brand or collaboration or nada. "Stay on target." Uh-huh.

Most engineers, as expected of engineers, see all the problems and that it's going to be a staggering mess, let alone that there are things that Yahoo! does way better than us and that our stuff should be dropped. Strategic optimists and those looking for a promotion will rebrand it as a synergistic opportunity to align our technological assets into a virtuous, hyper-competitive cycle to benefit our users, partners, and shareholders.

Get ready to find out what someone trying to make Partner or VP at Microsoft is all about, dear Yahoos. Be sure to ask about SPSA goals for a successful integration of Yahoo! and Microsoft assets.

At the basics, though, our imperial Lego blocks and their metric Lego blocks use very differently sized connectors.

I'm more concerned about the Yahoo! workforce. The talented remaining in the Yahoo! workforce, specifically. What a sucky week of events for them. Two weeks, really. Layoff rumors, bad financial results, layoff for real, and then a big corporation darkening their door, sans chocolates, saying that we're done with the sweet-nuthins-talk and it's time for my way or the highway. Well, actually, saying that it's time for my way or my way. What's a Yahoo to do? Wait it out, keeping things purring along? Start learning Windows Server, IIS, .NET, and Silverlight? Jump ship for a start-up, right in the middle of a looming recession? Damn.

Like I've said here over and over again, talent is talent and if you're good you can decide what you want to do and where you want to be. You're not locked into Yahoo! anymore than any Microsoftie is locked into Microsoft. It's a choice. And to feel good about your choice, you need to know and explore all of your options. There are no victims here. And the risk of that is that when the acquisition goes through, those left are those who either can't or won't find a position elsewhere. How much passion will remain? How do you keep the engagement going?

If we can help Yahoos explore Microsoft and it's culture, I'm happy to help. Realize this isn't the sunshine and teddy bear ice-cream parade site, though. I know little about Yahoo! culture so I don't know how different it is from Microsoft, although comments from former Microsofties tell me that its engineering groups aren't too different (which might be good and bad).

The Microsoft leadership also has to realize that the "Stay on Target" strategy isn't going to work for groups that heavily overlap with Yahoo! or would be replaced by Yahoo! implementations. On the surface, the coming year or two for a lot of online groups is looking like nothing more than a lot of angst, crap, and loss of momentum and brand. Why not dive into http://career/ and find something more rewarding? What's the reward for staying on target? It certainly looks like a bold opportunity to break through, but it has to be recognized as such and driven as such. Otherwise, it becomes the elephant in the All-Hands that starts chasing people out of the group, looking for a vision and hearing none.

And then: Ballmer. This will certainly serve as a transition out of the Gates era. Is Ballmer an Ahab figure, chasing the white whale of Google once and for all by roping two whaling ships together? If I write a book on my years at Microsoft one day, will it start out as "Call me Mini," as I reflect on the Microsoft flotsam and jetsam swirling around the world? I hope not. This will serve to define Ballmer, however. All online decisions and strategies have led to this point. And the scale of leadership required to pull success out of this bold move is, to tell you the truth, beyond any accomplishments I've seen so far. I have hope, but not much to back it up.

Oh, and this pretty much puts on the kibosh on any other big acquisitions for a while. So no need to speculate about Microsoft buying Adobe or anything like that. For now. One less thread for the rumor mill.

(Update: s/Yahooligans/Yahoos/g per comment. Added TechMeme link to Google's shot across the bow.)


139 comments:

Who da'Punk said...

I'll start with commenting open again on this post. Please keep on-topic and constructive. The last post went pretty well.

I'll be deleting anything wildly off-topic, asinine, offensive, etc. along with follow-up reactions to such. Don't take the bait, mate.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, buy into Ballmer's vision.

Everyone's talking about search and advertising, where without question there are big dollars.

But I don't see alot of people looking much further beyond that, at the opportunities for the platform.

From a services perspective, let's be honest. They've done a better job of providing a holistic services story, which Live really hasn't had. It's definately getting better, but it's largely been a disconnected mess.

On that front, Yahoo has focused on customers making it easy to consume (REST vs. SOAP) and experiment with their APIs. And YUI is goodness as well.

Pipes and Popfly are both interesting approaches to a common problem, and I think these two teams could put together something great.

There are also a number of services that are quite complementary, where they've done more in places that we haven't. Yahoo traffic and weather APIs combined with Virtual Earth can be a beautiful thing.

Now wrap those up in a development tool that makes an end user more productive, perhaps even some ASP.NET or Silverlight controls, and it's a beautiful thing.

Speaking of Silverlight, to paraphrase a certain politician, 'It's about the content, stupid!'. The reality is that to get broader adoption for Silverlight, you need to have compelling content from a trusted source. Yahoo provides this, and does it at a great scale - this is great news for Silverlight.

Let's not forget the identity front. From a CardSpace perspective, this could also be a great opportunity to gain additional exposure to more users. Heck, even die hard Linux folks like this open approach, so this should be an easy win.

What about Office Live? Here's a whole new pool of potential customers to engage and upsell.

I think there's also alot of opportunity to help them on the business front. Services seem like a diversion today, with no real monetization strategy, we could clearly help them here.

Like everyone else, my response is ask me in a year, but I'm hopeful.

Rumor has it Mr. Murdoch is looking for investors for a competitive bid, so fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Noone likes layoffs, but noone likes deadwood either. If layoffs happen the right way, it can be a net positive.

As someone who's spent more of his career outside Microsoft than in, when I got to Redmond I was surprised at the number of folks where things that were important to the business, weren't necessarily urgent and people were more concerned with fiefdoms, bonus', and believing their own hype than doing the right thing for the company.

With tens of billions in the bank and a post-anti-trust hearing mentality where people are scared to compete too hard, alot of people have lost their drive and/or their edge.

The reality is that this acquisition won't complete this year. With the downward economy, let's hope that this is a wake up call to people and lights a spark that gets people on their A game.

This happened in MCS a few years ago, where the business underwent a transformation and folks got laid off. I'm not sure if it was ever made public, but the net effect was a 'look for something else in the company' I'll never forget one guy who was smart but had grown comfortable, had a look of fear in his eyes and it kickstarted his engine again.

And for those it doesn't, maybe they need to leave for a bit, see what's going on outside 1 Microsoft way, and come back with a renewed sense of purpose and appreciation.

Yahooligans? Come on over! Microsoft is a great place to work. We're on the cusp of the next generation of the company, which means there's plenty of opportunity to be the next 'guy/gal who did x'. There's plenty of great stuff going on, and there's no question that the combination of some of what you're doing and some of what we're doing will be excellent.

Things like your service API approach, your customer/community focus, and great ideas like Pipes are welcome influences. You've got a number of fans inside the company, and there plenty of places to collaborate.

Outside of all things geek, benefits here are unmatched in the industry. Health care costs? Forget 'em! Want to have all of the major presidential candidates, people like Tim O'Reilly, authors like Thomas Friedman, come to you and speak on campus and have the talks streamed to your location? Done. Like to telecommute? No problem. Interested in trying out the latest Xbox 360 games months before the rest of the world? Join the employee betas.

Anonymous said...

I liked to move by Microsoft. As a Microsoft empolyee, I totoally agree we should let Yahoo folks stay in control with the combined forces. MSN and Windows Live have ways to go to catch up with Yahoo. If we put the same kind of people, we should forget beating Google...

SoftieVet said...

Ouch! This whole Yahoo! acquisition has me worried. Last report is Yahoo generated just under $364,000 per employee, well below an average of nearly $565,000 per employee at six other major Internet companies, including Google and eBay. Can you say "operations excellence" and big layoffs? Yes, MSFT would get the Yahoo! brand but it appears a lot of messy stuff too. I thinks this will prove to be a distraction from the needs of the marketplace and consumers for MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Yahoo employees call themselves "Yahoos". "Yahooligans" is Yahoo's site for kids.

macbeach said...

Interesting that both your current post and the just posted response to the offer from Google cite concerns about competition.

I can't remember any statement ever having been made here about a Microsoft move being bad for competition, nor can I remember anything from Google (official or otherwise) stating that a move they were about to make just might be anti-competitive.

Well, at least, everyone is in agreement that competition is good. Now if we can just get everyone to agree that it works both ways and that it isn't always the "other guy" who is being anti-competitive.

I said in my previous response that I'm all for this merger and I am. But admittedly for the wrong reasons.

I would much rather that this country, and the rest of the world have laws that foster competition. Laws that actually work and can't be endlessly challenged and ultimately defeated by a competitor that has arrived at a certain level of control over our infrastructure.

It does no good to have laws that don't work and only have companies fail due to bad management decisions (especially if they have products that otherwise do what they are supposed to do).

I must say though that I don't quite follow your logic regarding the merger being better at reducing prices. No company seriously competes with Microsoft on operating systems. Instead the competing price is effectively zero, with companies like Red Hat and Novell making money almost exclusively on support offerings.

Doesn't the current situation encourage lower pricing for advertising? With Google in such a dominant position, shouldn't Microsoft and Yahoo be offering similar products and next to or below cost? A combined MS/Yahoo that could achieve near parity might also offer lower prices, but I'm really puzzled why MS couldn't offer ads for next to nothing right now and blow both companies away.

I have always thought there should be a law against a company selling any product for below cost. (But as far as I know our current laws don't include such a provision). That would of course favor large companies in many cases due to economies of scale. On the other hand it would prevent the current strategy of leveraging existing monopolies to create new ones. At least to some extent.

Who da'Punk said...

Doesn't the current situation encourage lower pricing for advertising?

A large, effective competitor to Google would encourage lower pricing / more competitive pricing. I didn't mean the comment to necessarily be a positive for us, but for advertisers. But if we have a more efficient ad structure, we'll be able to get more bang for the buck. I believe it's good all-around.

Anonymous said...

What's with the use of the regexp?

Anonymous said...

to McBeach - the current situation does not encourage competition because advertisers buy based on the amount of traffic to the site. Google is dominant in search traffic, so advertisers must spend their money there. They would love to throw more business our way, but if you don't have the traffic to search, the ads don't get the clicks the advertisers want. That's really the crux of it. I have witnessed it first-hand. Advertisers have been clamoring for MS to get a leg up in search traffic so they can spend their money with us. In the past, the reason has been because of the quality of our users - we have been a closed network, with ads only on sites we own or monitor, so that we actually know the demographics of our users. Google's so diversified and broad with its adsense program, they can guarantee numbers, but not quality. If this deal goes through, it would give MS a chance to level that playing field, and yes, as mini said, it would utlimately be good for advertisers. Yahoo! has been able to offer advertisers targeting capabilities MS can't. Beyond the brand, the acquisition offers many advantages to advertisers. Contrary to common belief, large advertisers actually like Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Patronizer here, couple of topics I'd like to comment on

but I'm really puzzled why MS couldn't offer ads for next to nothing right now and blow both companies away.
0.02: you'd run out of inventory without any real impact on Google's business. Think about it this way: in my last job I had $30M to spend. If you're free I'll take all I can from you (which wasn't much given your traffic) and still spend the rest ... on Google/Yahoo. Just like Linux MSN's core issue is utilization, not pricing.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: your unalienable rights, not my job. Yes, your 0.00000000000000001% ownership of MSFT lost $2 in one day so no latte this morning. Yes, MSFT management would rather hire an untrained monkey than give you a raise. No, you're in America so nobody is forcing you to put up with it. Ballmer is a moron surrounded by idiots? Short us, buy Google and come talk to me three years from now. You're clearly under-leveled and under-paid? That's great, means you'll have absolutely no difficulty finding a better job. I didn't: when I realized I had fallen through the cracks (of what is a BIG company) I left for a better (60% better compensated) job. Do that professionally and (like me) MSFT will be happy to take you back a few years later because ... we are always hiring good people. I know I am (and can't %$#@$ find enough).

Anonymous said...

Today, the WSJ journal says that Satya will take over online services, and that several VP's are expected to leave the company or find new roles. Shake up is coming, I wonder how soon?

From the WSJ article: "Microsoft executives are discussing a reorganization of Mr. Johnson's group that likely would consolidate marketing under Vice President Bill Veghte and online services under Vice President Satya Nadella, said people familiar with the situation. As part of those changes, several vice presidents are expected to either leave the company or be given new responsibilities, these people said. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment on the changes."

(This Digg link gets you through the WSJ paywall, for those off Corpnet: http://digg.com/microsoft/Massive_Chances_at_Microsoft_Led_by_Balmer)

Carnage4Life said...

A combined MS/Yahoo that could achieve near parity might also offer lower prices, but I'm really puzzled why MS couldn't offer ads for next to nothing right now and blow both companies away.

Google ads are sold using an auction model so people are paying exactly what they feel the ads are worth to them. By definition there is nothing "cheaper" since people are buying the ads based on ROI (or clicks/sales per dollars spent if you want to get specific).

Anonymous said...

Here's the first reaction from Google.

"Yahoo! and the future of the Internet", by David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer:


"So Microsoft's hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It's about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.

Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies -- and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.

Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft -- despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses -- to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet? In addition, Microsoft plus Yahoo! equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts. And between them, the two companies operate the two most heavily trafficked portals on the Internet. Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors' email, IM, and web-based services? Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions -- and consumers deserve satisfying answers.

This hostile bid was announced on Friday, so there is plenty of time for these questions to be thoroughly addressed. We take Internet openness, choice and innovation seriously. They are the core of our culture. We believe that the interests of Internet users come first -- and should come first -- as the merits of this proposed acquisition are examined and alternatives explored."

Anonymous said...

Microsoft search ads are also sold using an auction system.

Anonymous said...

posting here as well:
Is buying Yahoo the last straw MS is drawing in fight to become a "meaningful" competitor in the online advertising market (or Steve wanting to kill f%^*#@ Google)?

If for some reason, as recent news suggests, Yahoo partners with Google instead of being purchased by MS, will MS drop it's effort in the online advertising market? I mean MS is loosing money, how long will they be willing to do that?

I can see Yahoo starting to try milking MS now since they do have options, and one particular one very bad for MS - partnership with Google by outsourcing their search to them.

Anonymous said...

I respect WSJ for their relative "fairness" in general, and this article is really "grilling" Balmer
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120192421439737669.html

I don't mean to take it out of context, so read the whole thing, but comments like:

"Chief Executive Steve Ballmer built his image as a bulldog of a businessman who bested aggressive rivals and grappled publicly with governments while helping spread personal computers to millions of people around the world."

"The deal comes as Mr. Ballmer is likely to announce an executive shake-up, the latest in a series of high-level staff changes that demonstrate the 51-year-old former salesman's frustrations."

"So far, Mr. Ballmer's strategy hasn't worked."

"On the consumer side, Microsoft is struggling. Mobile phones, music players and online services have sucked up tens of billions of Microsoft's profits in the past 10 years. It has failed to make a significant dent in the market share of leaders."

"Nowhere is the consumer challenge more stark than in online services, where Microsoft has bled money as Google has churned out profits."

are pretty bad for Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this deal will go thru without MSFT increasing their offer.

Yahoo is in talks to outsource search to Google. This will take the pressure off managemnt for a short time. Most of the big mutual funds dumped their shares on friday rather than waiting another 3-6 months for the deal to go thru. They can sell the stock at $28 and make up the $3 difference elsewhere in 6 months.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080203/tc_nm/yahoo_microsoft_alliances_dc_2;_ylt=ArlsRy4C1sh1ugcbdVIfaRoE1vAI

Anonymous said...

Question, I have read a couple of comments on the last two posts talking about how WindowsMobile is loosing money. Is this actually true? I was under the impression that MS made some decent money on WM and that's it's on 10's of millions of devices. (OK, v6 isn't great but v7 is supposed to be decent.)

And what about Zune v2? Is that loosing money? I understand it's probably not substantial, but E&D did make money in the last 2 quarters. (I bought a v2 and think it's pretty good.)

These don't seem like failures to me, but maybe I'm reading that wrong.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this deal will go thru without MSFT increasing their offer.

You might be right. Yahoo stock is valued at $12 in cash including other investments they have in various search companies in China and Japan.

If Yahoo outsources search to Google and then gets into a partnership with myspace, then MSFT would have to increase the bid or Yahoo board might just reject the bid altogether.

This is another reason why Ballmer should not have gone the hostile route, but at the same time he did not have much options. It will be an interesting few months and a huge distraction for employees at both companies.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any positive reaction by analysts to this proposed deal? Frankly, I haven't found any yet.

Anonymous said...

Strategic optimists and those looking for a promotion will rebrand it as a synergistic opportunity to align our technological assets into a virtuous, hyper-competitive cycle to benefit our users, partners, and shareholders.

Get ready to find out what someone trying to make Partner or VP at Microsoft is all about, dear Yahoos. Be sure to ask about SPSA goals for a successful integration of Yahoo! and Microsoft assets.


This is why I love your site mini. Great insight; I feel this is a good warning to heed. Minus that I hope Yahoos are excited by the opportunities our combined forces present.

Reading that Google blog, that is the purest FUD I have ever seen! They went poopie in their pants when they heard the news! Hopefully Yahoo recognizes that the handout Google is offering will dismantle and destroy them for good.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any positive reaction by analysts to this proposed deal? Frankly, I haven't found any yet.

Analyst are generally in favor of the deal since MSFT search was going nowhere. However, analyst are not crazy about the stock price for the next 2 years. The stock will trade in the $27-$37 range for some time.

With internet advertising going from $40 billion this year to $80 billion in 5 years, this makes sense for MSFT for the long term.

Anonymous said...

Has there been any positive reaction by analysts to this proposed deal? Frankly, I haven't found any yet.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=633150445&play=1

I guess like most naysayers you are just talking out your @ss?

Anonymous said...

RE Google's fud: I found this entertaining.

http://www.passingnotes.com/archives/2008/02/03/dr-microhoo-or-how-i-stopped-worrying-and-learned-to-love-the-bomb/

Anonymous said...

hmmm, yahoo culture:

http://bizcast.typepad.com/clients/2008/02/yahoo-culture-.html#more

Anonymous said...

Fake Steve is right on the money, as usual:

The Borg-Yahoo merger won't work. Here's why. It's like taking the two guys who finished second and third in a 100-yard dash and tying their legs together and asking for a rematch, believing that now they'll run faster.

Anonymous said...

You know, I didn't really have a lot of hope for this idea, not now, and not the last bunch of time I heard it floated either.

But Google crying about it: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/yahoo-and-future-of-internet.html

Something about that made me smile. If they're worried, maybe we shouldn't be.

Shawn Oster said...

From the outside, as a software developer, this tech-shattering news barely made a ripple in my day. Not because it's not news but because until you know which way the ship is heading it just doesn't do to get too worked up.

My #1 concern is Flickr, that is the only Y! asset I'm really invested in and the only one I would hope would stay a 100% unchanged. Everything else is this sorta murky gray area, such as search, maps, e-mail, ads, etc. They could all subsume each other and still be pretty well off, though of course those that love one UI over another might end up getting rather ticked having to re-learn another front-end.

Interesting times, Live is starting to get it's act together while Yahoo is starting to fragment, perhaps these two meshing could provide a solid online experience but it would require very strong, very focused and frankly very ruthless leadership of a single person with a strong vision to pull it off.

If this does go through I see a long transition period where consumers are barely aware of the changes, similar to how Ford owns Volvo and Jaguar yet in most people's minds they are distinct brands.

Anonymous said...

To add to the list of technologies that we've put to market from recent acquisitions (from the earlier Y! thread):

From the purchase of Connectix: VirtualPC (re-branded to MS), VirtualServer (was beta, then re-written once it hit MS), and now Hyper-V!!!

From the purchases of Giant/GeCad/Antigen: Windows Defender. Forefront Server Security for Exchange/Sharepoint/etc. Forefront Client Security. OneCare.

And we're doing good things with the technologies from Whale.

So we are doing good things with some of our recent purchases.

From a user perspective, if we manage to take away my @yahoo.com address and the POP3 access to it, I'll have to go elsewhere. I've been paying extra for quite a few years to have the POP access (as have my wife, my parents, and many others I know), so if we lose this access, I'll have to just stand up my own mail server, at which point, there won't be any income for Yahoo/MS.

Anonymous said...

Google should take this proposal as a compliment first. Imagine a business doing so good that some other business has to buy its way into the market. Google has 75% of the market share. So what? Apple has that too with ipod - does this mean that MS needs to buy Creative?

I use live search even if the browser integrates better with google. I just like it and am one of the people that stick with live. There's no way that you Mini can put a positive reason around this agressive buy. MS has no competitive reason to buy Yahoo. Your company just wants to extend the Ad sylo that Mr. Wilcox is talking about.

The best idea should survive. If Google or Yahoo or MS owns it, then that's the end of it. SteveB seems to think that he can buy it, but does he recognize it? It seems to me that he does not, since lots of his management efforts did not lead to impressive results.

It's hilarious to read that this move is done to protect customers from monopolies and to drive down the price of adds and so on when the Iowa case shows that the company has 85% margins - perhaps a misunderstanding on my behalf.

Anonymous said...

The best idea should survive. If Google or Yahoo or MS owns it, then that's the end of it.

(non-Microsoft person here)

The issue is that Microsoft's dominance of the OS market can allow it to tie a search engine to Windows, distorting that free market. I don't believe Microsoft will do this, because (as we've seen) the EU and a number of US states will jump all over it.

Then there's the idea that the company with the deepest pockets can afford to lose money while driving the competition out of business. Again, not going to happen in this space, but it can happen.

I'll repeat: I don't believe Microsoft will be so foolish as to do either of these things, but I just wanted to make the point that it's not as simple as the best idea surviving.

quux said...

Reading the MS press statement, it seems that MS is buying Yahoo primarily to get the eyeballs to make a credible run at advertising a la Google.

But: MS already has Yahoo-alike services. So wouldn't a $5B advertising carpet-bombing campaign bring in a huuuuge number of eyeballs?

Also, does MS really need to compete with Google for search-driven advertising? Google vs. Microsoft is just your average MS-hater's Godzilla movie dream. Why buy into it? Why not put the money and the telent into things closer to MS's core competencies? Last thing MS needs is to become just another corporate conglomerate.

Anonymous said...

Done.

Done. Done. Done.

I am just a scrub (hired on at level 56.. 62 now.. 8 years in... 3 years CSG before...)

But I have had the time to mull this over the weekend.

This company is going in all kinds of the wrong directions. Have I heard about how we are going to fix the Windows client mess? How about how we propose to push the strong server offering? How about an online offering that does not involve the word "live"?

(And for the love of everything holy.. why can't we create properties without circling back.. If you want to create a kick ass office suite online.. call it "Fred" or I don't care what.. Tacking but yet the latest MS slang on the end of every effort only (a) gets throwback from the /.ers and the general IT communite, (b) confuses our main base and (c) irritate the rest of the world.

This company needs to rethink its branding in ways I can't care mention.

How about we actually innovate something without some %&#$_&@$_& partner (internal partner I mean.. the guys getting millions to underperform the compnay) hijacking the worst elements and pushing that through?

... Just.. So upset.

So much opportunity lost daily in the political grind.

Sure, I may not find better. But at least it won't be where I have a decade sunk in and watching the bowl swirl... (Of course MS will have decades of economic power.. but it is not even near, close or trying to be innovative anymore.. You tried life on a startup within MS without partner "oversight"?)

Gah.

I am generally a "blue blood" - someone that goes balls to the wall for the company.

But this on top of evertything else...

At least online resumes are event easier...

Anonymous said...

I must say that as a Yahoo! customer, if this were to go through - I'd take my business elsewhere. I've had a yahoo! account for over 8 years, and it would be a pain to centralize around something else - but I'd do it nonetheless. It would not be a good day for Yahoo! to be taken over by Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Here's an analyst panning the deal: http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/04/news/companies/sloan_rosenberg.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2008020411

Looking at Yahoo's slim margins, there's reason to be worried. Those margins will be under pressure once Yahoo starts operating under Microsoft's cost structure.

Many posters on this blog have voiced support for a MSFT breakup. So then, can OSG see margins getting better if it is not operating under Microsoft's cost structure?

Anonymous said...

Google should take this proposal as a compliment first. Imagine a business doing so good that some other business has to buy its way into the market. Google has 75% of the market share. So what? Apple has that too with ipod - does this mean that MS needs to buy Creative? ...... so on for a few more paragraphs

AMEN.

What is MS (Ballmer and the brain-trust) insatiable desire to get into anything and everything that moves. Why does it "NEED" to play with every dam toy in the sandbox and claim it as theres. Adobe is making a pretty chunk of change from its artsy software, so MS MUST get into it. Thus, piecing together MS Expressions to compete (which looks and feels like EARLY versions of Adobe). Apple has the IPOD so it comes out with ZUNE. Sony is into gaming so XBOX.
People have to go poop so MS must make artificial poop. Where does madness end. MS can be VERY successful (and it is with the OS) and not do everything. A company or person cannot do EVERYTHING well so it should not do everything. We can only do a few things well so we need to concentrate and make sure we give our 100% to those things. It is just idiotic to dedicate partial resources to something b/c you will get partial results (Zune)

It is also great that Ballmer thinks he can push people around in todays environment. Its my way or the highway just does not work and another sign that he is living in the 1990s. Maybe 10 years ago when MS scared the shit out of everyone that would have and did work. But "FORTUNATELY" those days are over. Today, when you (Ballmer) run your mouth essentially saying that Yahoo will be part MS, these guys (yahoo) will take the highway and find some way of out. Ask yourself, what a great rallying cry from J Yang, either work hard and find a way out or be BAllmer's bitch. So take a wild guess about what they will want to do.

And on a side note: I have heard quite a few people saying that all the analyst or cable business news guys are touting this as a great deal. You give these people WAY WAY to much credit. First, more then likely many of these guys probably own stock in Yahoo thus they have an incentive to have MS buy Yahoo. Ok, maybe this is the case or maybe not. But ask yourself this, if these guys are so in the know and so smart why are they lowly analyst or why are they "reporting" news. If they were the shit, they would be the ones closing, financing, creating deals, the ones making the million dollar commissions, not the ones offering their thoughts.


+=+

Anonymous said...

Here's what bothers me about this acquisition: We're apparently in the midst of a major cultural change at Msft, right? For example, in past people were rewarded not for how they got things done but just the fact that they got them done. If there were a few bodies left behind during the process then it was no big deal as long the project got "completed" (note that I use quotes) by some deadline. Apparently there's a greater focus on understanding that leadership doesn't mean you have to be a manager either. More importantly, if you're going to be a manager then you should have great passion around helping others succeed. It isn't about your own success. Your own success comes from the success of your team. It's about asking them where their passion lies and not about telling them do something or they're going to get an 'underperformed.'

So, can someone tell me how a hostile offer/takeover for yhoo is a reflection of this new Msft? This is exactly what I despise about the company. Either our leadership hasn't really spent the necessary time to sit down with yhoo's leadership to discuss why this all makes sense for everyone or we're just spoiled babies and are not willing to accept no for an answer. Damn, can't we show any dignity and respect? If they have no interest in being acquired by us then who in their right mind thinks this is going to be a successful marriage?

Why do we wonder why so many people hate us? Or do we wonder? Certainly I don't.

What bothers me the post about all of these posts by Msft employees is that nobody seems to have a problem with the fact that this is a HOSTILE bid. Are we so used to being jerks to others that the "hostile" piece is just a typical day at Msft?

I'm very disappointed because I really thought this company had an interest in changing its ways. Apparently I was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Man, I f$%^g hate google. Those chaps are dare to talk about the freedom of the Internet.

Anonymous said...

Man, I f$%^g hate google. Those chaps are dare to talk about the freedom of the Internet.

Spy vs. Spy

What's surprising about the Google statement is how similar their behavior is to our own. We would never make it easy for the other party and they are just following our script. I wish we would mount an all-hands-on-deck operation to mess with Google rather than current plans akin to 2 cripples one lacking an arm and another lacking a leg.

Anonymous said...

Now borrowing too? Man this just get's better and better.

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/130975.asp

Joe said...

wow, they're gonna go into debt for this thing?

wow, just wow.

so, let's see if i have this straight:

MSFT is proposing a hostile takeover of YHOO, and need to take on debt to finance it?

MSFT will have to integrate a company that didn't want to be taken over, and uses an "alien" technology backbone (BSD, etc) and will most likely ditch the entire platform so they can "upgrade" it to run on Windows.

Does anybody else think that its kindof crazy to go into hock to buy something that you are going to dismantle?

yeh, me neither.

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering why an "innovative" company has to buy their way into so many different markets?

1st why so many different markets?

2nd if MSFT is so innovative, why does it have to pay to play?

Something just doesn't add up.

It seems to me that if MSFT is an engineering-oriented company, it should stick to engineering things (e.g. OS's, infrastructure, tools, etc.) Unfortunately, while that's not as sexy as advertising and entertainment...it is more profitable. I guess making money must get boring after a while. (I wish I know that first hand :).

hardwarejunkie said...

re: To add to the list of technologies that we've put to market from recent acquisitions (from the earlier Y! thread):

...

From the purchases of Giant/GeCad/Antigen: Windows Defender. Forefront Server Security for Exchange/Sharepoint/etc. Forefront Client Security. OneCare.


OneCare is consistently the worst rated product at detecting malware. It managed to do more harm to one of my machines than any virus ever has -- it deleted an entire pst out from under Outlook while OL was running. It quarantines files into the all-users profile. Horrible product. Please don't use OneCare as any kind of an endorsement of MS' acquisition chops.

Anonymous said...

>
I'm just wondering why an "innovative" company has to buy their way into so many different markets?
>

Oh please, just take a look at the list of acquisitions your favorite GOOG has made http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_acquisitions

Anonymous said...

1st why so many different markets?

Shareholders demand growth. Giant companies with dominant positions need to constantly look for ways to continue growing, and entering new markets is usually what they do to make that happen.

2nd if MSFT is so innovative, why does it have to pay to play?

Ask the same thing of Google or any other large company. Everyone pays to play once they get to a certain size -- you want to start with the biggest base possible and it's really hard to start from ground zero when there's already established competition, so why push that boulder all the way up the hill when you can pay to start closer to the top?

Anonymous said...

Please don't use OneCare as any kind of an endorsement of MS' acquisition chops.

On the same topic, Connectix shouldn't be mentioned either. VirtualPC and VirtualServer are so much lower grade than the VMware products that they shouldn't be discussed in the same sentence.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't you've buy nVidia instead and get their drivers on track?

nVidia is really f*****g up my Vista x64 experience. They are so bad making drivers it isn't even funny, or maybe it's their hardware quality that is so sucky no drivers can make up for it?

I bet Ballmer could afford to spend a couple of mill's to improve their dev-staff. That would be money much better spent than $40B+ on a half bad online company.

Anonymous said...

If we cannot migrate the Yahoo's Free BSD/Linux servers to Windows Server, we can run them as Virtual Servers on the just release Windows 2008 :).

Anonymous said...

"Stay on target"

We all know how well that ended up for Gold Squadron.

Anonymous said...

Are you buying the Yahoo technology or the brand?

If you're buying the brand, you want the existing revenue stream, and you're hoping that a new "powered by Microsoft" logo on Yahoo pages either will help the business or at least won't hurt it. (This worked very well with Hotmail...until everyone started using Gmail instead.)

If you're buying the technology, what's the point? You're only going to tear it apart and rebuild it on Windows, at which point you're kind of back where you started, but a lot poorer.

Anonymous said...

Several thoughts:

- I once read (about the Cold War) that the US was playing Monopoly while the USSR was playing chess, and the question was whether the US could bankrupt the USSR before they checkmated us. This makes me wonder: What game is Ballmer playing?

I think he's playing Risk, badly. Multiple opponents, trying to conquer them all, trying to take over all the territory in the world. But he's playing badly, because in Risk one of the big things is to not get overextended, not to burn more resources than the battle is worth.

But the real business situation is not like Risk. New players keep entering the battle, either because they are new businesses or because Microsoft keeps extending their definition of where the borders of the board are. Ultimately, they will keep coming at a pace faster than Microsoft can buy.

- $45 billion? And you'll be able to cut $1 billion/year in expenses? Yeah, that will pay off... in 45 years.

- I am not an "eyeball". You don't buy me. You earn me, maybe. You can also un-earn me.

Personally, I use Yahoo (for stock quotes, mainly); I don't use MSN. I have a Yahoo e-mail account; I don't have a Hotmail account. I can get both stock quotes and free e-mail other places. Give me a reason to leave and I will.

- If you manage Yahoo with the same people you managed MSN/Live with, you will get the same results you got from MSN/Live. The only possible exception is that the market share will be big enough to change the number of advertisers wanting to do business with you. But even if that is the case, you can lose the market share swiftly - in just a few months. Don't count on the deal to magically make the same people able to execute.

In short, there's a lot about this deal that seems like wishful thinking to me (an admitted outsider), and little that recommends it. The only thing that makes sense to me is getting over the market share hump. But as I said, that could be very temporary.

MSS

Anonymous said...

I use several Yahoo! services. They aren't flashy, amazing things but they have a level of design and quality that inspires confidence. I have no problem recommending, for example, Yahoo! Mail to my non-technical friends because I'm sure they'll have a good experience with it. You can't say that about many companies or things in this world and it makes me sad that Yahoo! hasn't been more successful and any merger with Microsoft will likely ruin what makes the company good.

Anonymous said...

I use several Yahoo! services. They aren't flashy, amazing things but they have a level of design and quality that inspires confidence.

This is such an excellent point. All our services get flashier and flashier, soon to require Silverlight even. I look at them professionally, but on my own time, I'd rather not be bothered fighting my way through the pastel tripe. Some PMs/GMs must be really proud of themselves...

Anonymous said...

I've worked in MSN for about a year. It is heavily dominated by PMs, and it's built in such a way that it will always be dominated by PMs. Someone thought that if you throw enough PMs on the problem the services will be more uniform and will work better together. Instead, what you got is bureaucracy, unimaginative, poorly designed services and slow progress (or regress even - see Hotmail). Put engineers in charge and dangle a nice juicy carrot in front of those willing to go for it and within a year you will see marked improvement.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, just take a look at the list of acquisitions your favorite GOOG has made

A companies buy A companies
B companies buy C companies

Anonymous said...

A companies buy A companies
B companies buy C companies


There isn't anything worse than a parrot who spouts-back a pithy saying without thinking.

Obviously A companies are capable of making really crappy decisions -- otherwise IBM would still be the dominant player and Ford would rule the global automotive market.

Ditto B & C companies -- smart people can make great decisions and elevate companies higher up the status chain.

Everything is fluid and every company is just a few good or bad decisions away from going up or going under.

For the love of heaven, THINK before you type. Don't be a parrot.

Anonymous said...

What game is Ballmer playing?

It's poker. He just went 'All-In'. It can be his last at this table. We'll see in two years.

Anonymous said...

Level 60 SDE

I love this merger! Steve is nuts and I love it. I use Google news right now mostly, and google video, and lately I've been using MSN a bit but nothing really brings me back. I gave Yahoo! a serious look and found alot of content that would keep me coming back.

With a search background I've always respected the Yahoo engineers, I wouldn't replace one or the other, but hit more verticals, there's ALOT more we can do.

And Ads - most don't realize this but if you have 5% of traffic that doesn't mean you get 5% of the pie, to win in advertising you have to have a serious chunk that MS does not have now, with aQuantive it helps, but with Yahoo, its in the bag.

a 45 billion gamble, gutsy, risky, and controversial... most people are bashing Steve, and so are the news sources! I say, way to go! I know half the money will be debt :)

We're so damn boring, so conservative, making careful moves, and then this... its nice to see some guts for a change. Hell I'm putting a Steve B poster up in my cube...

Lets set this place on fire (not burn it down!), even though I don't work in OSB, I'm stoked as hell. I know it will take a year or longer for the deal to go through, but I'm talking about the PRINCIPLE.

Yahoos - if your boring and conservative, you'll love it here, righ at home. And if your completely insane and like taking risks, you'll like it here too, I sure do.

Anonymous said...

On the topic of OneCare…

I had to be one of the most skeptical users and they won me over. I have tested it across a broad range of machines and configs and it rocks. The performance and the ease of use blows the top players and even some of the shareware/OSS players away. Ironically OneNote and OneCare are my favorite products. Hmmm Who knows, maybe my v3 upgrade will auto install a Yahoo! Toolbar.

Anonymous said...

Henry Blodget has a good take on this, and actually calls the offer "brilliant." Not sure I'd go that far, but it's interesting and comes from a very well-respected person in the valley.

http://www.slate.com/id/2183494

newhire_guy said...

OT: Guys, I don't know who to ask about this... what level and salary is reasonable for an SDET new hire with ~3 years of work experience (which doesn't not necessarily include a ton of testing)?

Anonymous said...

A number of posters refer to this as a "hostile takeover". I think at this point that is technically inaccurate - the current stage of this drama is "unsolicited bid". Depending on what transpires in the ensuing days/weeks Act I Scene II may be "hostile takeover".

Anonymous said...

OT: Guys, I don't know who to ask about this... what level and salary is reasonable for an SDET new hire with ~3 years of work experience (which doesn't not necessarily include a ton of testing)?

There's no way to answer this question with the amount of information you provided.

Do you have a degree, and what's it in? If you do have a degree, and it's CS-related, what was the program like at your school and did you do anything notable while you were there? What was your GPA (relevant for a recent grad)?

What work have you done for the 3 years, and where?

What happened on your interviews -- where did you shake-out on the SDET ladder as an initial assessment? There's definitely wiggle room on offers based on how you perform during the interview -- they could say "This guy has a ton of potential but still basically a campus hire -- 59" or they could say "This guy's experience and skill is easily competitive with L60".

Anonymous said...

It is brilliant. Most of you don't seem to understand what Microsoft has done with this offer.

To get to #1, Microsoft has to be #2 first, and that means taking out Yahoo.

With this offer, Microsoft has crushed Yahoo! in a single stroke. It doesn't even matter whether the deal goes through. There are really only four possible outcomes:
1. Microsoft buys Yahoo.
2. Some random company like AT&T buys Yahoo (no other software or internet company can afford them).
3. Yahoo breaks apart.
4. Yahoo stays independent and tanks (stock below $10) because investor, employee, partner, and most importantly advertiser confidence hits rock bottom. They were headed there already, and inability to find a buyer will ruin them.

No matter which one happens, Microsoft wins.

And look at what this has done to everyone else in the industry -- AOL, Facebook, Google, MySpace, you name it, they're all going nuts right now. Major, major disruption.

Just when everyone thought Microsoft was a boring dinosaur, they make this excellent surprise move, perfectly timed.

Just, wow. It's pure genius.

Anonymous said...

A number of posters refer to this as a "hostile takeover". I think at this point that is technically inaccurate - the current stage of this drama is "unsolicited bid". Depending on what transpires in the ensuing days/weeks Act I Scene II may be "hostile takeover".

I think you're missing the point but do the research and it's clear what has transpired between the two interested parties so far. It's obvious that Yhoo is not interested in being acquired by Msft in the least. Our approach bothers me immensely. We're essentially saying if you don't like it, we don't care and we'll let the shareholders determine your fate (unless they can find some creative way of remaining independent). If they accept it, it's because they had no good alternative.

What positive outcome can come from telling someone they have to do something they don't want to do? Do you think in a year or so they'll actually say, "Wow -- this wasn't so bad after all"?

Even the best acquisitions are very painful. I've been through countless. There's probably less than a 20% chance this will work out well for both parties. Our #1 goal at this point should be increasing near-term shareholder value. Why near-term? Because we can't afford to tell our shareholders and employees to wait another year. They have waited and waited. And here's the really sad part: All other things equal, if I would have joined Java (Sun Micro) 5 years ago to the day I would have a 13% greater return on my grants/options (40% vs 27%). Yes, I said "Sun Micro!!!" Employees are losing their patience and public shareholders are losing their patience. You think they're going to stick around any longer with the idea that the chance of this succeeding is about 20%??? Even if it's 50-50, it's a very bad and risky bet. The upside is maybe $10/share (30+% increase from today's price) at this point and that will take at least 2 years if we're lucky. The downside is the stock heads back to the low 20s easily. If we go into a recession then you're not seeing $40/share for at least 5 years. Why stick around when there's huge opportunities at other hi-tech companies right now who are better positioned to offer you significant upside and a very exciting and challenging job?

I'm listening. Somebody convince me because I'm quite certain the people who are going to leave are at a relatively high level (eg >L62) and are medium to high performers. I'm an L64. I just started interviewing and I'm floored by the number of opportunities out there. If you can convince me then I'm sure you've convinced the other hundreds or thousands of people who are thinking exactly what I'm thinking right now.

I know, some people are going to respond and say we'll just replace you with someone else who has equal talent. First, try replacing someone who has 10+ years experience at this company and then try to find the talent. I know how few talented people are looking for jobs right now (other than the ones at Msft and Yhoo).

Anonymous said...

No matter which one happens, Microsoft wins.

Um, hello, what if we actually accidentally win Yahoo? I still don't see anybody with a real explanation of how tying two rocks together is going to make them float.

And I don't buy that stupid synergy argument, either. There's plenty of past history that says MSN's management and theirs are too brain dead to do anything but run the synergy in reverse and lose market share twice as fast. Who's the superstar VP that's going to make that not happen, huh?

Anonymous said...

The mire of integrating Yahoo! is colossal, so with the absolute necessity of the two marks going on, the acquisition is like grafting a burn victim with flesh from a necrotizing fasciitis sufferer.

Anonymous said...

Mini you seem to like parodies ...

http://www.oreillymaker.com/link/10557/yahoonet/

Anonymous said...

Please people, try to understand...

This isn't about taking a big market share in advertising. This is a strategic move aimed at protecting the core OS business of the company. Now if the advertising/media business leads to yet another money making pillar, so much the better.

Basically you have this upstart (GOOG) armed with a money printing machine that has shown a desire of eating at your core business(es). Think Office. Maybe also think Windows. With the kind of money advertising generates for GOOG, they can employ the best engineers and give away mail, calendar and productivity services for free, hell even end up building a platform to rival our core OS offering.

The idea is to seriously dent their money printing machine. The way this works is to provide much needed competition and get adword prices down, thereby hitting their revenues and therefore their ability and willingness to reach damage to us.

Advertising is a big business in itself, but had it been deemed big enough we would have pre-empted GOOG much earlier on.

Anonymous said...

I find it troubling that the call is "stay on target", because in any conventional way of looking at it, this acquisition is risky at best. Getting 30% of search traffic (at one given moment, mind you) is not going to change anything unless MSFT+YHOO's products/services are actually better (more innovative, easier to use, saving more rainforest, whatever) than the competition, and getting better products/services out won't happen if everybody just continues doing their own old thing. Can you beat GOOG at search (keep in mind, there's nothing really groundbreaking and innovative about search, the algorithms which are used now have been around for ages, so it's all about the implementation)? Maybe you can beat them at using the search results better to deliver ads with a higher success rate? Maybe you can shift the focus from "blind" advertising to the actual job of connecting buyers and sellers? In any case, just counting eyeballs and hoping that 30% of eyeballs, when operated on in the same way that consistently got the market share down, will give you a nice leverage to hold ground against, let alone overtake, the "other" 70% is wishful thinking. This means that Ballmer is not thinking like that, because he's not an idiot (idiots do not get that high in any hierarchy, unless elected, of course); so what is the method in this madness?

Joe said...

get adword prices down,

How exactly does that work? You can guarantee 30% of the market of search eyeballs, and GOOG controls 70%.

Advertising business models are not WalMart style price slashing games, they are the # of eyeballs you attract, and how well you can track the success of the advert.

Think super bowl. $4.5M/30 seconds. Do you think that the doggie bowl on the Animal planet could have affected the pricing of the super bowl commercials?

So, when Microoft says "We have cheaper ads, why would you use GOOG?", the customers response would be - "Yes, your ads are cheaper, and they should be, because GOOG gets 2.3X more hits." MSFT will not be able to bring price pressure on GOOG unless they steal more search share.

Not to mention that both web properties YHOO and LIVE/MSN are losing ground to GOOG in a measurable way.

There are also significant and material differences between Google Analytics, and whatever MSFT is using. This makes it harder to track how effective your advertising dollars are.

Really, advertising is one of the few markets where a Cost Cutting strategy is doomed to failure.

Anonymous said...

Sure, ad prices will be determined by the markets. Micro-hoo needs to execute to make a better value proposition to the advertiser by:
1. excelling in relevance of search
2. improving analytics
3. providing more channels for advertising, franchising; improving targeting
4. providing improved / enhanced original and 3rd party content
5. coming up with a compelling personal suite (think Live/yahoo), across platforms including mobile
6. innovative business strategies for advertisers
in short out-executing GOOG.

The devil is in the details. Success will not come by just because we merge. Success will involve a lot of thinking and hard work on everyone's part.

The coming recession will probably help undermine GOOG further. There was a lot of high valued ad traffic tied to the housing / mortgage industry that might dry up. GOOG is tied to the customer cycle. MSFT is spread across the customer and business cycles, and these cycles are displaced from each other.

GOOG's stock trajectory is certainly a big part of its allure with employees. If that trajectory dips, the talent flow may shift in our favor.

So, while MSFT-YHOO is not a magic bullet that will make GOOG go away, it's one rather big piece of the grand strategy for containing GOOG.

Anonymous said...

As a 10 year MSFT veteran, this move annoys me, in a very selfish way: my stock options due to expire in 2011/2012.

We were just turning the corner on the stock price after the last 2 successful quarters, and now this?! Seriously, I think SteveB has it out for the share-holding employees. (Refer to a couple years back when they "surprised" analysts with a big re-investment in R&D, sending the stock down the tubes).

Yes, it may be a bold and brilliant move long term. But the stock has done jack-squat since the bubble burst and now this guarantees that it will do jack-squat for at least the next few years.

Ugh!!!!

Anonymous said...

Basically you have this upstart (GOOG) armed with a money printing machine that has shown a desire of eating at your core business(es). Think Office. Maybe also think Windows. ... they can ... give away mail, calendar and productivity services for free, hell even end up building a platform to rival our core OS offering.

Huh? They've shown no indication of making an OS. They've shown only passing interest in making productivity "apps." (Yeah, they have crappy Google Docs but they don't even advertise it anywhere.)

On the flip side, Microsoft was content to have crappy outsourced web search on MSN until Google started doing well and Microsoft declared outright war on them, creating an in-house search group and funding it with billions of dollars.

Maybe you want to reevaluate which company started this competition.

Anonymous said...

> No matter which one happens, Microsoft wins.

> And look at what this has done to everyone else in the industry -- AOL, Facebook, Google, MySpace, you name it, they're all going nuts right now. Major, major disruption.

> Just when everyone thought Microsoft was a boring dinosaur, they make this excellent surprise move, perfectly timed.

> Just, wow. It's pure genius.

Oooooo....it makes me envision SteveB with a patch over his eye, bandana wrapped around his shiny pate, tattered striped and dungarees climbing over the side of the SS Yahoo. Could this be the return of the corporate pirate? Maybe so well thought out that he's hoping the deal folds but Yahoo is scuttled for free? Then to add color, 2nd mate Liddell even floats the idea of bonds to LBO Yahoo.

I'm not sure I like it, but it could be a brilliant stroke with no cost if they pull it off.

justmy2¢ said...

Back to basics. What is the business case for buying Yahoo? Is it:

1. Increased revenue to Microsoft via an effective advertising medium, or

2. Simply a spoiler to strip a competitor of revenue?

This is a serious question. I can't see a payout based on revenue to Microsoft, and any benefit by weakening a perceived competitor is intangible. I don't see a business case here.

Anonymous said...

Steve Ballmer's making the best of a bad situation. I give him a 25% chance of succeeding with this strategy, but that's better than the 5% he would have if he didn't buy Yahoo.

How much is a 20% chance of owning the Internet worth? That's why he's willing to pay so much money, and take the risk that the merger won't work out. It's because of the enormous payoff if it succeeds.

Anonymous said...

Any chance there's more to this than eyeballs?

http://gronkx.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/msft-and-yhoo-is-everyone-missing-the-obvious/

Anonymous said...

In today's news from an adjacent hypothetical universe, General Electric, a well-heeled company that doesn't make operating system software, has decided to pony up $45B (including $20+B in debt) to acquire Yahoo. Some transcripts from the hypothetical conference:

Q: "Why such a high price for Yahoo?"
A: "Well as much as we would like to have acquired Google, we can't afford it. This gets us very quickly to a #2 position in the Internet portal and search market."

Q: "Any plans to replace their BSD UNIX servers with Windows technology?"
A: "Well, we're offering this price for them because we believe what they have already built is highly valuable. A hostile takeover followed by a mandated technology replacement could be disruptive to the operation of Yahoo and potentially devalue them as an asset, which would be a bad use of shareholder money. We would prefer to see them accelerate and enhance the existing technology which, as our bid indicates, is highly valuable. If on the other hand, Yahoo's top technical talent were to reveal to us that they have actually been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to re-do their entire technology stack using Microsoft based technology, we would consider allowing that."

Picture the reaction of a top Yahoo engineer to the story above, compared with their reaction to the Microsoft offer.

GE has $61B in cash so they wouldn't even need to go into debt to do it. I wonder if Yahoo could accept a lower offer if it also came with a promise not to mess with their formula.

Anonymous said...

Picture the reaction of a top Yahoo engineer to the story above, compared with their reaction to the Microsoft offer.

GE has $61B in cash so they wouldn't even need to go into debt to do it. I wonder if Yahoo could accept a lower offer if it also came with a promise not to mess with their formula.


OK, we've entered the realm of lala land -- this hypothetical scenario is poorly written and barely applicable, and your point would be much more cogent if you just came out and said it instead of trying (and failing) to be clever...

Anonymous said...

I don't like it at all.

I've been using Yahoo mail for years. The new version sucks, it's alot slower than Yahoo Classic. This reminds me of the new Live mail being slower than old Hotmail. Google is still faster than either.

The big question is why with all the money in the last 3-4 years, MSN/Live still can't deliver? Why Why?

Anonymous said...

The mire of integrating Yahoo! is colossal, so with the absolute necessity of the two marks going on, the acquisition is like grafting a burn victim with flesh from a necrotizing fasciitis sufferer.

Which one is which? :)

Anonymous said...

Mini, you diss everything that happens at Microsoft. Why are you still working at Microsoft? No, seriously, what do you like about Microsoft that makes you stay?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 9:29PM:

You must have missed Mini's post on what is going well:
http://minimsft.blogspot.com/2007/12/microsofts-2008-whats-going-well.html

Anonymous said...

Steve Ballmer's making the best of a bad situation.

So who is responsible for this bad situation? the hired hands? Let's fire them.

Anonymous said...

re the "hypothetical GE offer"

The point there is that if you see some object that you think is actually worth $45B, handle it very delicately, since that is a *lot* of money to pay for something if you are going to disassemble it and rebuild it after purchase, as with Hotmail.

It seems likely that companies other than Microsoft, were they to attempt such an acquisition for that price, would be far more likely to avoid disruptive changes to Yahoo's architecture. But MS probably can't resist.

Anonymous said...

To the SDE64: thanks for the lol's, seriously (why aren't you GM yet?). If this disrupts your daily job so much you want to leave the company you must be in MSN; which means an over-leveled failure. And don't let the door hit you on the way out; have fun moving your family to a new city and/or writing AJAX for 16 hours a day.

There have been a lot of commentary from management about their respect for Yahoo, and desire ($) to keep them operating business as usual. I suspect they will let Yahoo management continue to run the show and report to KJ instead of Yang.

And to all the clever merger similes, yes you are clever. Take it on over to /. with the other no-hires and get your mods up.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, stop the presses Ballmer! Hold everything! We've got a scrub (hired on at level 56.. 62 now.. 8 years in... 3 years CSG before...) that's leaving the company! Better call the whole thing off and see what you can do to make this guy happy!

Anonymous said...

Great Article from seattletimes.com

Members of Yahoo Groups and the Flickr photo-sharing site said they are concerned the deal would change the nature of Yahoo's Internet services. Some users said they would stop using the features if they are absorbed into Microsoft's corporate fold, or simply defect to Google.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoft/2004166446_yahoousers06.html


And if you are wondering, will this deal go through easily? Here might be an answer... from wsj.com

A likely reason for Yahoo’s resistance? Yahoo co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang can’t stand Microsoft or the thought of turning over his creation to the software giant. One Silicon Valley insider who knows Yang said that when Gates approached him more than a year ago about a relationship, Yang recoiled. Whether a relationship between the two companies is good for competition or not, this insider said, getting swallowed by Microsoft is “Jerry’s worst nightmare.”

http://bigtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/02/06/microsofts-antitrust-problem/

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for Jerry it might be at the expense of his creation that he resists.

David said...

It seems a lot of folks are underestimating the close ties of silicon valley companies and culture. Yang does not like MSFT, thus Ballmer won't get this one. It just won't happen. Move along, this will be old news in 6 to 10 weeks, if not sooner.

Anonymous said...

If this disrupts your daily job so much you want to leave the company you must be in MSN; which means an over-leveled failure.

He'd fit right in on the Vista team then. Zing!

In other words, STFU. There's plenty of stupid stuff that goes on at this company.

Anonymous said...

A couple things that most people are overlooking out of convenience or lack of awareness:

GOOG can't buy YHOO's search and/or ad business. US and int'l antitrust laws prohibit it. Eric Schmidt is simply making noise.

Sure, there is a fair amount of consternation in Silicon Valley and on blogs about what this deal means for internet, etc. That consternation doesn't matter. Doesn't. Matter. Why? 70% of YHOO stock is held by big institutional investors and mutual funds. They are very high on this deal happening.

Remember kids, shareholders talk and walk; the rest of this whining and hand-wringing? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

I think the most difficult question to ask or answer right now is....
.
.
.
.
.
Did you exercise at 37?

Anonymous said...

"did you exercise at 37?"

I wish, I wish, I wish...I was traveling and a day away from placing a sell order on my last option

Anonymous said...

It seems a lot of folks are underestimating the close ties of silicon valley companies and culture. Yang does not like MSFT, thus Ballmer won't get this one. It just won't happen. Move along, this will be old news in 6 to 10 weeks, if not sooner.

There's a reason it's referred to as hostile takeover, smartypants.

Anonymous said...

Mini, you recently posted this when the stock was going up nicely:
wherever Ballmer is, keep him away from any interviews or speeches for at least a week or so. Let us enjoy this time, this upswing, without him torpedoing the good news with some pessimistic warning
Well, next time he should not be left out "shopping" , ...from 37 down to 28.52 in just two months.

Anonymous said...

Remember kids, shareholders talk and walk; the rest of this whining and hand-wringing? Not so much.

It's not the shotgun wedding we're skeptical about, it's the happily-ever-after part.

Anonymous said...

He'd fit right in on the Vista team then. Zing!

LOL, I was _this_ close to typing that in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to the multi year $22-$28 trading range. Years to break out of, less than a month to return. And all that stuff in the Yahoo letter about "easily" beating the S&P these past years? Not any more. So the question is, do we hit $22 again or stop at just $25 this time? The response to CSCO tonight suggests we drop $28 tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Well, there's other changes ahead. It looks like our head of online services will be leaving, and another re-org ahead.

http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-more-changes-coming-at-microsoft-steve-berkowitz-brian-mcandrews-kevin-/

Anonymous said...

One day, maybe in the near future, I'll be completely divested from MSFT. And that will be the most beautiful day of my life, I won't care about the stock and my antipathy towards the company will just cause me to laugh everytime Ballmer does something stupid

"That's our Ballmer!" - da da da dun!

until then, I'll collect my pittance lv 62 salary and not sweat the small stuff

Anonymous said...

[Off topic...]

SP1 is what Vista should have been. Very noticable difference on my old Dell notebook - the disk has *finally* stopped spinning endlessly.

Install it. It's good.

Also....

Take a look at the new Office Live Workspace but be sure to get the Office plug-ins installed. It allows you to open/save Office docs stored in the cloud from any machine. Your docs, from anywhere. And you can log in to the web and get a poor man's (good enough for free) Sharepoint experience that you can use for collaboration.

Really encouraging to see some cool innovation coming from the Office team. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I think Microsoft's got two problems looming.

One, if things go according to plan, and Microsoft acquires Yahoo! without it being derailed at any point, there's the massive problem of what to do with all the duplicated functionality, and who jumps, and when? I suspect Microsoft's going to be sidetracked on that issue for quite some time after. It has the potential to derail everything else.

Two, alternatively, Microsoft gets the anti-trust going-over, and fights it, tooth-and-nail, a la all the previous anti-trust battles. And of course, gets sidetracked no end.

Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of wheels spinning ... the bitter stench of tires burning out ...

Anonymous said...

>It looks like our head of online services will be leaving, and another re-org ahead.

I bet none of the other VPs here who used to head MSN are going to be punished despite being equally responsible for its failure. Too bad.

Justmy2¢ said...

Anonymous (12:10:00 AM) said...
[Off topic...]
SP1 is what Vista should have been.


Cool! Microsoft has removed the High Definition Video Prevention System and it installs Win FS?

(Sorry. Now I see what you did there.)

Hi! So how do ya like the new shade of lipstick on that porcine? Personally, I'm still waiting for delivery of Longhorn.

Anonymous said...

He'd fit right in on the Vista team then.

Hm... in a coding contest between our Windows SDE/SDE/T IIs and your MSN "Principals" I wonder who would win? Actually, no, I don't wonder.

Now, let me explain the concept of "revenue" to you (and Steve)...

Anonymous said...

Did you see this stupidity? A fake bid? Who hires these dummies?!
http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/analyst-says-microsofts-yahoo-bid/story.aspx?guid=%7BD61FED24%2DB3FD%2D41EF%2DAD85%2DCF06CAFDE3B6%7D&dist=TQP_Mod_mktwN

Anonymous said...

Wow, the divisiveness exhibited here between the Vista and MSN teams shows me that things are going nicely within the company.

With this kind of behavior inside the company I'm not sure what Microsoft's competitors are worried about.

Anonymous said...

Something just occured to me. Most commentators think a Microsoft-Yahoo merger would be a failure, but there is a small group who think it would be a great success.

What occured to me is I bet that most of the people who are predicting success are the same people who, year after year, told us that Microsoft's latest reorganization of its online programs was guaranteed to be a huge success.

Anonymous said...

Cost of the Ballmer's offer: $5 per MSFT share ($46.6B/9.31B)

Stock drop since the announcement: $4.5 per share. In other words, Yahoo will lose 90% of its price tag once acquired by Microsoft.

Wall Street appears to think that the deal will go through, and that very little good will come out of it.

jcr said...

"I, for one, buy into Ballmer's vision. "

That's not a vision, it's a hallucination. MS's management isn't capable of gaining clues from buying other business, because they routinely try to shoehorn the acquired business into MS's fundamentally broken management model.

In short, buying Yahoo is nothing more than a way to destroy about fifty billion dollars of shareholders' equity. Three years hence, when the remnants of Yahoo try to spin off and regain their independance, they'll be worth less than Lycos.

I know people from four different companies that have been acquired by the Empire, and in every case it was a disaster.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

An open letter to Steve Ballmer
by Arik Hesseldahl

Mini, have you been outed as Arik?Did you write this?? After almost 12 years in the field at Miorosoft, I agree with almost every word here.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/feb2008/tc2008027_990635.htm?campaign_id=yhoo


"I know you want to make your mark on Microsoft, but you should stop trying to be all things to all people. Take a tip on focus from that other Steve


Dear Steve,

Let's talk over this Yahoo! (YHOO) thing before you move ahead. It's a profoundly bad idea....."

Amen to that.

Anonymous said...

He'd fit right in on the Vista team then. Zing!

Amen Brother. Jawad (ex) org is probably worse than MSN nowadays.

macbeach said...

"Something just occured to me. Most commentators think a Microsoft-Yahoo merger would be a failure, but there is a small group who think it would be a great success."

Also interesting, is that there was no direct comment from our host here at Mini-Microsoft, as far as this being a move in the wrong direction when it comes to focusing the company on what it does best. Maybe the rules have changed?

Cringley just posted a compelling theory regarding MS trying to become more like GE, more of a financial powerhouse than a maker of any particular product. I'm not sure I buy his theory, but at least it adds a new dimension to the echo chamber we have been getting all week on this.

fCh said...

What does it take for Microsoft to downsize where it hurts the most? Obviously, the $44B acquisition of Yahoo! and then some time. Then, what will have been Microsoft's most significant loss/win? Mr. Ballmer himself. Why is it that some take so much to learn? Let's call this the "comparative advantage" of others.

Anonymous said...

Dan Lyons (fake steve jobs) quote on the proposed merger:

"Tying the second and third place finishers in the 100-yard dash won't make them fast enough to beat the winner" (meaning Google)

jcr said...

Cringley just posted a compelling theory regarding MS trying to become more like GE, more of a financial powerhouse than a maker of any particular product.

GE's able to do that, because GE has professional management.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

More bad news to add to the tumbling stock...
Did anyone notice this?

Microsoft has dropped in Fortune 100 rankings for 2008 from 50 to 86!!!
Man, at this pace we may not even be in next year's ranking.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2008/snapshots/86.html

Fundamentally, it seems we are headed in a wrong direction.

Limulus said...

So the MS-Yahoo deal is roughly half cash, ~$20B. I was thinking about what could be done with that much money to really boost Microsoft's online presence to sell ads. And the silly thought that popped into my head was that rather than building up the enormous corporate blob even further, why not divide it up into 'little' chunks and use that as seed money for various web 2.0 projects that MS owns as subsidiaries?

Let's say that MS starts by funding 1000 ideas @ $5M each for one year ($5B). At the end, cull the least promising half. Fund the remaining 500 @ $10M for one year ($5B). Cull the least promising half. Up the budget to $20M for 1 year ($5B). Cull the least promising half. Now, at the end of three years you've spent $15B and have 125 sites that blanket the web with all sorts of interesting web 2.0 things.

(just think of the weird names that we could see! ;)

Xitr! (a Microsoft company)
sReat (a Microsoft company)
hakket (a Microsoft company)

But... lots of happy users glancing at ads, etc.

Then start cutting funding and expect them to survive partially off ad revenue:

y4: 125 companies x $15M = $1.875 B

cull bottom 25.

y5: 100 companies x $10M = $1B

total spent in 5 years: $17.875 B

As the survivors are weaned off the last remainder of the $20B seed money, Darwinian selection has produced robust, self-sufficient companies that use only Microsoft for their ads. Microsoft profits are insulated against challenges to their traditional core business.

Like I said, a silly idea ;)

...but more silly than Ballmer's?

Anonymous said...

YHOO is rejecting the current bid according to http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120257515426256541.html?mod=googlenews_wsj.

I hope this stupidity cancels out the initial one and MSFT is back up to 37. My fear is that Steve is not going to back down.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft HAS to do this. The decisions on who to put in leadership roles at MSN has always puzzled me. There are very few capable folks at or above the VP level in MSN/Live, IMHO. It's been that way ever since I've been with MS (almost a decade). No plan has worked and there's nothing else in the plan that can change the game in time.

Yahoo! has to do this. As an outsider, they seem totally incompetent at the leadership level. No vision or direction.

Wish we could've bought Overture back in the day. Maybe we'd've paid $2B. Yahoo would be barely alive and we'd save a whole lot of coin w/o those other parts of Yahoo we could care less about and have less integration headache.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a massive restructuring of MSN/Live/Yahoo! with spinoffs, wind downs, and whatnot soon after the deal closes...which will take a LONG time.

Anonymous said...

Yahoo BOD rejects the bid and they won't consider anything less than $40 / share which would add $12 billion to the buying price.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120257515426256541.html?mod=hps_us_whats_news

Anonymous said...

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Yahoo Inc.'s board will reject Microsoft Corp.'s $44.6 billion takeover bid after concluding the unsolicited offer undervalues the slumping Internet pioneer, according to a person familiar with the situation. . .
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8UN0LIO1&show_article=1

Yahooooo!

Don't worry, I'm no Microsoft Toadie, so don't be surprised when I dis all the optimism about the likelihood of Microsoft owning Yahoo. It would be such a cultural shock, Yahoo, yahooligans and its customers would likely impale themselves on Google products abandoning Yahoo for as long as it takes to dump Microsoft.

Just another Gates-Balmer wet dream. What's the matter Steve? Too incompetent to actually compete with Yahoo and Google by making better products.

It's just a 44 billion dollar name to you anyway. Nothing more--which says a lot about how totally screwed up Microsoft is.

PS, which of the three urban dictionary definitions of Toadie do you think I am referring to?
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Toadie

Anonymous said...

Wow, the divisiveness exhibited here between the Vista and MSN teams shows me that things are going nicely within the company.

Windows team makes the money.

MSN team pisses it away.

There's a clear ROI with the investments in the Windows team. Not true for the MSN/Live folks.

The MSN world has historically been called the "rest and vest" division, where burnt out talent goes to just keep getting a paycheck. The "superstars" stay in the Windows division. Don't know how true that is anymore.

Along those lines the MSN folks have typically benefited from a lot of level inflation. Most people in the Windows team have been held down below their correct levels for years. That's pretty common knowledge amongst rank and file members of both divisions, though you'll never get management to say it.

Anonymous said...

This purchase is a horrible idea.

We've said for years that we're on the right track and making the right investments to get a winning search/internet strategy. A $44B acquisition attempt says that our leaders have been lying to us for years.

Thanks a lot Steve, for dooming us to a shitty stock price for the next few years (while the US and EU antitrust people rake us over the coals).

We seem to have the worst timing for all of our announcements. We recorded a profit that was multi-billion dollars bigger than our best quarter ever. Just happens to be at a time when the market is tanking, so somehow our stock price drops (WTF!?).

We didn't need to announce this takeover attempt, especially at a time when the market was down. Stockholders lost billions of dollars of value because Steve couldn't keep his piehole shut.

We need real leadership at the helm here.

Anonymous said...

Well, the various responses to this merger have been floating around for a good week or so now, and I've tried to read most of them to help understand why this bid makes sense. I still don't get it, and I'm trying hard to see the other angles.

Practically, this bid doesn't compute. Financially, it makes no sense. Competitively, it might make some sense, but not when you take into account the staggering financials of it all.

Steve has lost his way. This bid makes clear that his ONLY priority is to compete and win, and he's going to kill the company in his attempt to do it. As one poster above put it, he's playing poker here, and he's just gone "all-in" with King high.

I honestly wish Steve had gathered up about 10 billion in cash and just set fire to it in the parking lot. This would do far less damage to Microsoft and our shareholders than this acquisition bid will.

I've never felt myself rooting so hard against my company and its leaders before. Please don't let this deal go through. Google, please please scream bloody murder to the feds, and have them kill this thing before we find ourselves 44 billion poorer and still way behind in the online space.

Anonymous said...

Yahoo did exactly what you'd expect them to, they rejected the bid. No one accepts an opening price. Of course they're going to try to negotiate.

The question now, is how much will MS go into debt? How big a hole do we want to dig? How nasty and how hostile do we want to get? If we get nastier and more hostile it's just going to make Y! employees hate us more, and make their usefulness even more limited.

And here's another thought, if in the end, it all doesn't happen for whatever reason, do we get our stock reduction back? I bet not. And then we'll have a devalued stock, no Yahoo, no nothing.

So, what was the play here again? Where's our upside? I can't seem to find it.

Anonymous said...

The MSN world has historically been called the "rest and vest" division, where burnt out talent goes to just keep getting a paycheck. The "superstars" stay in the Windows division. Don't know how true that is anymore.

LOL -- if you've been around the company at all, you'll note that any division you're not in is called the "rest and vest" division. It's typical the other guys are all losers hubris, and it's pervasive throughout our culture.

Along those lines the MSN folks have typically benefited from a lot of level inflation. Most people in the Windows team have been held down below their correct levels for years. That's pretty common knowledge amongst rank and file members of both divisions, though you'll never get management to say it.

Again, if you've worked in a few divisions you'll see the same pattern -- everyone in MY division is totally under-levelled compared to those other loser divisions that all promote like crazy.

I've seen examples of seriously burned-out senior Windows people who have been sitting on their laurels doing nothing and benefitting from organizational cruft since XP launched, and I've seen crazily talented people in MSN who should be 2 or 3 levels more senior than they are. Ditto the reverse, and ditto other divisions.

Anonymous said...

As a longtime Microsoft employee and Ballmer supported I am shocked at how desperate he has become. Now that the Yahoo board has rejected his offer (and countered with a number 33% higher than the initial offer) I hope he can show the maturity needed here and walk away. Walk away from this bad deal Steve!

With the kind of money we are now talking about (at the $40/share price) I can buy you 15% market share. I could promise every man, woman and child in the US a buck if they set their default search site to "Live Search". Let's say I pick up 5% with that antic. Next, I would start sending coupons for free hamburgers to every man, woman and child (coupons which required a visit to Live Search to fulfill). Probably another couple percentage points there. Then, for my big finale, I would actually role out a social networking site (that of course would be powered by Live Search). Let's call it %15. I would do this all for about $1 billion, and I would let you have all the leftover dough, Steve.

I think the problem is that Steve loves to sell, and he doesn't think he has anything to sell when it comes to search. He kinda doesn't get services (look at how he gutted MCS over the last few years). He gets software in a box, don't get me wrong. But squishy, "empower me" kind of stuff can't be arranged on the shelves of a Best Buy at launch day.

Here's an idea Steve, empower the shit out of your MSN guys. Give each VP a billion bucks and let them hire like crazy. Let 'em have overlapping assignments. Let 'em release competing sites. Let 'em brand and promote however the hell they think is best. It would not be any more confusing than this Yahoo thing, and you would certainly end up with something you could sell.

Or you could go with my hamburger idea.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said in a post on February 09 at 10:59:00 AM:

Microsoft HAS to do this. [...] There are very few capable folks at or above the VP level in MSN/Live, IMHO. [...] No plan has worked and there's nothing else in the plan that can change the game in time.

Yahoo! has to do this. As an outsider, they seem totally incompetent at the leadership level. No vision or direction.


So, the plan is merge MSN/Live's incompetent leadership with Yahoo's incompetent leadership, and pick the best incompetent leaders out of the mix?

Why involve Yahoo at all - why not just overhaul the MSN/Live group, or do something radical like spin it off with $10 Billion in "here ya go, good luck" funding, and focus MSFT on areas where it's proven it can grow?

Anonymous said...

Big mistake

People
- half of the people are maybe worthless.
- half of the worthy ones will leave for other companies right after aquisition. Some of them might be very important in the great scheme.
- the other half of the worthy ones will stay at MS maybe less then 2 years.
- good people in MS will leave to other companies when their work is thrown away to make way for yahoo's stuff.

so from people perspective we do not gain too much.

Users
- users are not loyal.
- quite a lot of them use Yahoo because is not MS
- merging with Live and MSN will f-up things for some time, so users will look for something else.

Google
Google might give Yahoo some money to survive, just to keep MS away and pissed off.
Google will make everithing possible to force MS to pay A LOT for Yahoo. That will screw up MS' bottom line.


Overall: BAD!BAD!BAD! Don't need this.

Maybe they should look at their board and kick some people out.

Anonymous said...

We've said for years that we're on the right track and making the right investments to get a winning search/internet strategy. A $44B acquisition attempt says that our leaders have been lying to us for years.

Hello!! Wake up and smell the coffee! If you truly believe every single word your managers/execs are preaching, then you're just a sucker.

Anonymous said...

I'm ex aQuantive employee, and now work inside microsoft. The Yahoo deal is so big mistake, some one needs to get management to back off this deal and rethink.

The aQuantive deal was not worth 6 billion, sure they make more than their operating cost, but the aquisition was a big mistake. The management is very incompetent and customer satisfaction is very very low. Developers are afraid to question management and are severly punished for doing the right thing. Performance is a huge problem, its shocking. The technology we're mandated to use is open source and Java Struts ports, and people are afraid of doing anything different because they'll get fired.

The Yahoo deal would be a big mistake, Steve, don't do this, spend a little bit of money on startups that will be partners, hell give the money away. Do what inQtel does to fund search technology, it works for the CIA, it can work for Microsoft. www.inqtel.com

I have a very shocking story to tell regarding the aQuantive merger, management at Microsoft most likely thinks things are rosy and they are not, I wish I could have told them but I was threatened not to tell them the truth. I give a big thumbs down to this, its not going to do Microsoft a bit of good. Steve, do this by innovating, spend it on startups, make them serve our ads, use our technology, the next killer web apps would come from this and will help us win in search and advertising. Remember developers, developers, developers? Screw Yahoo and their open source junk, its not that good. Microsoft management, have patience, believe in developers again, use the huge developer community to take #1 search spot and ad spot. Don't do another aQuasition, especially in one that only has market share, and no technology thats better.

If this is like aQuantive deal, it could sink the ship. The management chain all the way up think that everything is ok, but when you know, when you work with the customer and the technology, and the management, its not. they despise Microsoft technology and make fun of the Microsoft management, the Yahoo people would be just the same. People who get paid big bucks to hate Microsoft, hate their customers, and do nothing, and persecute those who care about the customer and the company.

I'm happy to be on a real team now, with Microsoft, with a team that cares and is dedicated to shipping.

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea Steve, empower the shit out of your MSN guys. Give each VP a billion bucks and let them hire like crazy. Let 'em have overlapping assignments. Let 'em release competing sites. Let 'em brand and promote however the hell they think is best.

This is basically what has been allowed to happen at MSN for years, minus the brand part. And look what all these MSN VPs came up with! Folks, it isn't a money problem at MSN, it's a vision, strategy, and execution problem at the top--top of the Platform & Services Div and top of MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer needs to go!

"Microsoft's shares have fallen 12% since it made its offer, which may reflect concerns that it has already offered too much or that such a large deal would distract its management away from its core software business. As a result of the falling share price, Microsoft's cash and share offer is now only worth $41.8bn."

Thank you again SteveB and your era of marketing idiots! I'm out of here.

PS: anybody remember the 1 billion AT&T deal?

Anonymous said...

The management is very incompetent and customer satisfaction is very very low. Developers are afraid to question management and are severly punished for doing the right thing.

Lol, this is a recurring theme through many of the older posts. There are teams that do not have this problem, but good luck finding and getting into them.

Anonymous said...

anybody remember the 1 billion AT&T deal?

I do. Wasn't it more like 5 billions? Anyway, at the time AT&T still owned cable networks (which I believe it has since sold to Comcast). MSFT invested all that money into AT&T in order to get our software on their set top boxes. The whole plan fell apart, the Windows set top boxes never reached a wide audience, and by the time we sold our chunk of AT&T shares they had lost half their value. Another brilliant move, brought to you by upper management.