Friday, February 1, 2008

Sugar daddy for search

$44,000,000,000+ for an internet company? Ok, it's Yahoo! but, jeez. This Friday morning, Yahoo shares rose 45 percent to $27.71, up $8.53 after the offer hit the table. In summary,
...[t]he offer, for $31 a share in cash and stock, represents a 62% premium to Yahoo's closing price Thursday. It comes offer comes as Yahoo continues to struggle against Google in the race for online-advertising revenue and Internet- search market share despite efforts to upgrade its systems. Yahoo's shares have lost about 40% of their value over the past three months.
I'm betting that Yahoo! takes the offer. Its shareholders will probably want this, and it's been struggling for years. This isn't to say that Microsoft will revitalize it even after it dumps millions into the flailing company. What's going to happen to all the product overlap (email, instant messaging, search, blogs, news, finance, etc)? Chop chop...I think it's going to be more than just 1,000 jobs being lost.

True many people still use Yahoo! for search, but Google (and its myriad services and products) is wooing users away...I recently tired of the AT&T/Yahoo! webmail interface that always shoved ugly ads in my face, so I switched everything over to gmail.
Let's also not discount the issue of competing corporate cultures. Microsoft and Yahoo! will be like the 40 year old CEO and 20 year old dreamer trying to reach consensus on pizza toppings. It'll be like a bad 'reality' show, which is to say all of them. Remember the Time Warner/AOL drama in 2001?

I'm hoping that is able to further differentiate itself. If this merger goes through, the playing field will narrow to Google, Microsoft, AOL, and Ask. Fewer players...greater stakes.

Update: Cnet posted the 'we want to buy you' letter sent from Ballmer to Yahoo's Board of Directors, in which he professes his love for the company and his undying yearning to stuff its mantle under his manly loin waddle.

No comments: