February 11, 2008

The Yahoo/Microsoft thing

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at February 11, 2008 6:04 PM

So, Yahoo rejected Microsoft's buyout offer, but it is apparently still likely that Microsoft will devour Yahoo in the end. This raises several interesting questions, such as: How much is Yahoo really worth? Will a combined Microsoft/Yahoo be an anticompetitive force on the internet, as Google alleges? Or can we expect this to spur a new round of increased competition with Google, leading to new and better services from both sides?

Regarding these questions, I have no idea and can say very little. I'm more concerned about the one Yahoo service I actually use, Flickr, being assimilated into the Microsoft collective. I've always liked Flickr's clean and simple page layout, and would rather not see it turn into MSN Flickr with a look more like this. Hopefully Microsoft will do what Yahoo did when they bought it and leave Flickr with some independence.

Actually, I use a second Yahoo service: del.icio.us. It's true that I almost never posted there since I opened the account, but last week I revived it, and I'm contemplating cross-posting those links to the main blog. (More on this later.) However, del.icio.us has always been ugly, but at least it's ugly in an uncluttered way, which is basically the opposite of Microsoft Ugly.

Anyway, here's hoping Microsoft takes a hands-off approach to Yahoo's Web 2.0 acquisitions.

Tags: Business, Internet

I wish there were a term in standard use other than "Web 2.0". I know it's peevish, but I find that term irksome. Ah well, this wouldn't be the first time and it already seems to be way too late.

Posted by: Mason | February 12, 2008 2:55 AM

The technology space does not abound with examples of companies that have acquired their way to competitiveness. I wouldn't be losing much sleep over this, were I Google's management.

Posted by: JSpur | February 12, 2008 8:24 AM

Oracle (my current employer) seems to do well with that model

Posted by: shellock | February 12, 2008 10:17 AM

And it seems like this strategy has worked pretty well for Microsoft themselves on more than one occasion. On the other hand they've been throwing money at the web services market for a while without much success.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | February 12, 2008 10:39 AM

Perhaps MS is trying the Cat in the Hat* search algorithm to identify profitable business ventures.

(*) The Cat in the Hat algorithm searches for an element x in S for which some predicate p(x) holds true.

  1. Generate the set S' containing all of the elements y in S such that p(y) is false.**
  2. Compute the set different R=S-S'.
  3. Any element in R, then, is a viable solution.

(**) The algorithm can be modified by an alteration to this step. If some x is found such that x is not a suitable candidate for S', return it immediately. If there is one solution in the entire set S, for example, this optimization will, on average, cut in half the execution time of this algorithm.

Posted by: Lemming | February 12, 2008 12:19 PM

I've lately been adjusting to the fact that, in financial contexts, MS refers not to Microsoft but to Morgan Stanley (it's their ticker symbol). Then along comes a topic like this and I have to revert back. Luckily, perhaps in abbreviation solidarity MS is advising MS on the Yahoo bid, so either way it refers to the same side of the issue.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | February 12, 2008 2:36 PM

Oh, right. Funny, because I was just talking to a Morgan Stanley recruiter. Very polite, I may have to continue that conversation if I ever want to sell out.

(No offense to selling out, actually, I just don't like what I've heard about the stress level.)

Posted by: Lemming | February 12, 2008 3:16 PM

I wonder if that's the same Morgan Stanley recruiter I've talked to? I know that particular group recruits from Tech, and is still looking for people.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | February 12, 2008 3:32 PM

Yes, there's the stress level issue and the dying of a heart attack at age 40. (AG: I'm not trying to discourage you, but one has to have the "right" personality so that the stress doesn't get to you. I know that I wouldn't be able to take that species of stress.)

MS stands for quite a few things. Multiple sclerosis and Master of Science occurred to me immediately. I was trying to come up with something mathematical, but it still hasn't occurred to me, and I've already spent more time thinking about this than I should have. Goodnight.

Posted by: Mason | February 12, 2008 5:23 PM

Yeah, I thought of the multiple sclerosis usage while I was composing the comment, and checked that Wikipedia page out of curiosity. Of course, most of those meanings are well-differentiated by context. I'm still getting used to the idea that when the referent is a company, I need to distinguish between finance and technology contexts. (But note that I'm not requesting that MS be used exclusively for the investment bank. I'm just commenting on how quickly my associations evolved, since up until a few months ago I wouldn't have read it as anything other than Microsoft.)

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | February 12, 2008 5:45 PM

You can always just use "M$" for Microsoft.

Posted by: Mason | February 13, 2008 1:14 AM
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