Sunday, 13 April 2008

End game for Yahoo?

In my article last week I dared to suggest that Microsoft might walk away from Yahoo. Indeed I suggested that if Steve Ballmer ever asked my advice (Pigs might fly etc.) then I would say “Don’t buy Yahoo”. Main reasons being that the cultural differences will destroy Yahoo and dent Microsoft shareholder value in the process.

Anyone looking for evidence of the Ballmer/Microsoft style/culture should read Who’s next, Yahoo? In the Sunday Times.

Most analysts seem to expect that a Microsoft increased bid will win the day. If all that was at stake was Yahoo shareholder’s bank accounts, then that would be that. But there is more at stake and that’s why I think Yahoo is right to do everything they can to find ‘another way’. A Yahoo/AOL (now including Bebo) combination looks attractive to both parties. Indeed a Yahoo/News Corp (incl. Myspace) combination is attractive too. Yahoo is also flirting with Google but I would expect that to run into all kinds of competition/regulatory issues.

I find a future which is NOT dominated by Microsoft (as the past has been) attractive. One where users have real choice. Where the ‘Big Boys’ competing for how we access the internet and run our computers would be a much more ‘equal’ Apple, Yahoo+AOL+News Corp, Google …and Microsoft.

The next three weeks could indeed set the seal on who the players are to be in the upcoming Revolution

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