ABOUT FIVE SECONDS after writing the previous short piece on Microsoft-Yahoo, I got a call from the BBC asking if I could go to White City to tell world+dog what I thought of the news. I live only about six miles from the studio but, since this is London on a Friday lunchtime, there was no way I was going to get there in 20 minutes for a live transmission.
So TV misses out on this face of miraculously preserved male beauty but INQUIRER readers get the scoop on the opinion that counts.
I’ll tell you what I told the BBC researcher – this is huge. If it’s not the most important acquisition in technology history then it’s doing a pretty good impersonation. Microsoft gets top-notch internet properties such as Mail, Answers and the rest. OK, so Yahoo hasn’t been on its game recently but it’s still got an across-the-board roster of good-to-great services and a merger means that the two firms don’t have to replicate features.
The price is high but then the so are the spoils as the internet is still taking baby steps. When it’s all grown up, truly global and benefiting from broadband ubiquity, the valuations on the best land will be stratospheric.
This is about becoming the most important company in technology, bar none.
This deal more than quadruples the biggest tech mergers of the past. Forget HP-Compaq, Symantec-Veritas, Oracle-PeopleSoft and the rest of Larry Ellison’s shopping spree. This shows that Microsoft is taking the gloves off when it comes to world domination. The $6bn a year R&D budget bought it a lot but now it is clearly ready to use its financial clout to clobber the opposition. There were clues that this might happen.
As part of the US government’s persecution of Microsoft a few years ago it was revealed that it had early-stage merger discussions with SAP. If that deal had gone ahead, the price would have been about $50 billion.
Then last year, Microsoft agreed a deal to buy ad network Aquantive for about $6 billion, smashing through its record of never spending more than about $1.5 billion on buyouts. What next? I’ve said before on these pages that Microsoft needs to add in Ebay and maybe Ask.com too to have a Google-like footprint.
The catch? Microsoft still can’t catch Google in search and search is the honeypot that keeps users buzzing about other services. One plea to regulators: keep the hell out of this. There is a clear leader in this space and Microsoft+Yahoo doesn’t represent an unfair challenge.
This is a combination that makes sense for internet users and Google needs the competition to keep it up to the mark. µ
Archaic prototype shows Redmond has come a long way in hardware design
And woe betide if you're called Mohammed too
Lack of proper comms gets a frosty reception from Project Zero's Travis Ormandy
Wine 3.0 brings support for Windows apps to Google's mobe OS