This is not a business analysis. I am not using any fancy tools or statistical programs to calculate what might happen if Microsoft acquires Yahoo!. All I’m writing is straight opinion, with some links to other posts I’ve read on the subject.
First, I’ll cut to the chase: I do not want Yahoo! bought by Microsoft. Ever. End of story.
Obviously not really, or else I would have just tweeted about this. 😉
I used to use only Microsoft products several years ago, back when the Internet was a new thing to me. At twelve, I didn’t really care what I used as long as it worked. I searched using MSN Search in Internet Explorer 6, while my mom used Google. I used Outlook Express (and later Outlook) for my email.
Strange, isn’t it, that a hardcore Google fan and Firefox user like myself once surfed on Microsoft’s terms? Let’s just say I saw the light. It was actually i80and who told me about Firefox in the first place and got me to install it. I eventually used some program (I forget what) to alter the Windows Registry and change “Microsoft Internet Explorer” to “Microsoft Big Security Hazard” in the IE title bar. That was before I came up with Suckernet Exploder, but I digress.
Fast-forward to my first hard disk crash (or not — the disk was still working — but it gave me a scare anyway and I ditched that computer for a school laptop the next year). I had switched to Firefox for browsing, but still used Outlook for email. After the crash, I quickly switched to Gmail full-time, telling everyone I emailed I was switching addresses. (Gmail did not have Mail Fetcher at that time.)
Once using Firefox and Gmail, I branched out to other places and services, using Google to search the Web for instance. I realized that all the other sites were just easier to use and better than Microsoft’s offerings, not that I could quantify or qualify the differences.
At this point, it should be known that I started blogging on MSN Spaces, which became Windows Live Spaces, which became horrible in my opinion (the whole Windows Live thing was stupid, I think). I moved here to Blogger and have been much happier.
Now, while I am certainly not a super-fan of Yahoo!, I have a gut feeling that, should Microsoft acquire them, Yahoo! will go down the tubes. Look at the new Hotmail, for instance. It barely functions in Firefox.
I’ve seen what happened with Windows Vista, and I don’t want the playing field of Internet services narrowed to two major players. Three is fine. Yahoo! and Google keep each other on their toes (I naturally think Google is doing better 😉 and Microsoft sits there playing catch-up to everyone else.
Yahoo! has actually done some good things. They have suggestions in their search box, for instance, which I still have to get on Google via a browser extension. Microsoft’s search products are just annoying to me, perhaps because they’re still so limited. And the visual design doesn’t help.
So aside from the product implications, let me take a look at how Microsoft has been trying to conduct the acquisition. Back on February 1, Microsoft first offered Yahoo! $44.6 billion. They were turned down. They’ve since sent a letter to Yahoo!, earlier this month, which basically threatened a hostile takeover if Yahoo! didn’t cooperate in the next three weeks (now down to a little over two weeks).
Yahoo! again turned them down.
What have we learned? Bullying doesn’t work. I hope that when Microsoft takes their discussion to the Yahoo! shareholders in two weeks’ time, they also fail to come to an agreement and the deal falls through. (I don’t see Yahoo! agreeing to sell in the next couple of weeks, so I’m figuring they’ll just keep shut until the deadline.)
In short, my opinion on a “Microhoo!” (as the proposed merger has been called) is, “Nnnnnnnnoooooooo!!!!!!!!” I hope it doesn’t come to pass. Ever.
If you’re hungry for other opinions or more facts, here are some good articles and blog posts I’ve read on this subject in the past:
- Microsoft puts Yahoo in a headlock and applies noogies. Wants lunch money in 3 weeks — or else (VentureBeat)
- Microsoft Sends Letter to Yahoo! Board of Directors (Microsoft.com)
- Yahoo Again Rebuffs Microsoft (PC World)
- Microsoft, Just Walk on By (Mini-Microsoft)