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February 1, 2008 4:45 AM   Subscribe

Microsoft offers $44.6 billion for Yahoo! The grand old man of Redmond has finally come out of the closet to woo the loveliest lady in Sunnyvale, offering a staggering $44.6 billion in cash or shares. Cash or shares? Wow! Bearing in mind the...ah...disappointments both companies have suffered over the recent past, is this a marriage made in heaven? Or hell?
posted by Duug (199 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
MS valuing Yahoo shares at 62% above the Yahoo price this week? That's a lot of lay-offs and a lot of synergies to be realised.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 4:50 AM on February 1, 2008


Desperation, thy name is Microsoft.
posted by dbiedny at 4:56 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Money quote: "It is a shotgun marriage, but the person holding the shotgun is Google."
posted by cavalier at 4:58 AM on February 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Tho let me be the first to dredge up in a Google involving post that even I am starting to get a wee weary of the amount of things Google wants to track for me in its benevolent "Aw, shucks, trust us, we're making information better" pose..
posted by cavalier at 4:59 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


cavalier nailed it. Microsoft feels they have to assault Google, and apparently they're willing to massively, massively overpay for a chance to do so.

Admittedly, I don't use Yahoo that much anymore (which may be telling in and of itself), but what, beyond the brand name, can Yahoo offer Microsoft? Do they have any competencies that Microsoft doesn't have in-house? (that's actually a serious question). And whatever those competencies are, is 44 billion really the only way to acquire them?

If I owned Microsoft stock, I think I'd be selling on this particular news. In essence, I read it as, "We're unable to compete successfully against Google with our inhouse talent. Therefore, we're going to pay a huge sum to hire a bunch of people who are also unable to compete with Google. But, hey, they suck less than we do!"
posted by Malor at 5:04 AM on February 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


Microsoft's letter to Yahoo!
posted by ClanvidHorse at 5:04 AM on February 1, 2008


(This may be the most expensive chair ever thrown against an office wall.)
posted by Malor at 5:05 AM on February 1, 2008 [15 favorites]


Yahoo still exists?

(In fact, "Microsoft still exists?" applies to me, at least. I use Linux at work and home and my wife and inlaws-down-the-street use OS X. We never even think of MS, let alone use any of their products. I was shocked this week when I found a "great motherboard" on Newegg that wouldn't work with Linux. My first thought was: Then what does it do? Oh right, Windows. Huh, I guess tech-savvy people are still out there at that use that. Weird.)
posted by DU at 5:07 AM on February 1, 2008


does anybody actually use yahoo?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:09 AM on February 1, 2008


but what, beyond the brand name, can Yahoo offer Microsoft? Do they have any competencies that Microsoft doesn't have in-house?

probably not much. it's all goodwill & customer base.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:13 AM on February 1, 2008


Maybe MSPaint will finally get the Flickr integration it's been sorely lacking.
posted by tapeguy at 5:13 AM on February 1, 2008 [20 favorites]


The only part of yahoo I've used in recent years is finance. In general yahoo has jumped on just about every bad advertising idea there is and has embraced style over substance. I just checked, and yahoo.com actually seems usable now but it still isn't as clean as google. Hotmail is even worse so I predict that if the buyout goes through Microsoft will cobble the worst features of both companies.
posted by substrate at 5:14 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do they have any competencies that Microsoft doesn't have in-house?

MS isn't buying competencies, they're buying brand and attention.
posted by sexymofo at 5:16 AM on February 1, 2008


does anybody actually use yahoo?

Come on. I'm not fan of yahoo, but they own both flickr and delicious. So it's safe to say a very large portion of metafilter does use yahoo.
posted by gtr at 5:19 AM on February 1, 2008


I'm not fan of yahoo, but they own both flickr and delicious.

Aha, this explains why both of those sites are completely nonusable.
posted by DU at 5:22 AM on February 1, 2008


but what, beyond the brand name, can Yahoo offer Microsoft?

What, beyond the brand name, did YouTube offer Google?
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:22 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Sic transit gloria mundi
posted by CautionToTheWind at 5:22 AM on February 1, 2008


Aha, this explains why both of those sites are completely nonusable.

Use them every day without trouble. But I'm sure your experience is vastly different.
posted by gtr at 5:25 AM on February 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


Come on. I'm not fan of yahoo, but they own both flickr and delicious. So it's safe to say a very large portion of metafilter does use yahoo.

you learn a new thing every day, hey?

*purchases stocks in toilet paper companies*
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:27 AM on February 1, 2008


Personally I don't see why Yahoo is worth much, but presumably someone smart had to look it over to make sure it's worth offering 44 billion dollars for it.

From the article: "It is a fantastic offer. It is game on," said Colin Gillis from Canaccord Adams. "This consolidates the marketplace down to Google versus Microsoft. These two companies will be going head to head."

That sounds more like Don King than Warren Buffett. I'm still unconvinced.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:29 AM on February 1, 2008


What, beyond the brand name, did YouTube offer Google?

Quite a shitton of rabidly loyal users, all their raw videos, all of the statistics on usage, and an advertising platform that is the successor to television. They knew that trying to adapt their existing Google Video site into being the king social site would fail, so they did the best possible thing: bought the company capturing %99 of the market they wanted, and then didn't fuck it up.

Microsoft will manage to epically re-fuck all the companies that Yahoo's already fucked by acquisition.
posted by blasdelf at 5:32 AM on February 1, 2008 [13 favorites]


does anybody actually use yahoo?

I've been using my.yahoo.com since the day it launched. I keep looking at the google equivalent but keep going back to yahoo. I also use Flickr.

My concern as a Mac user is whether MS will be heavy handed and make the Yahoo side of the house a good experience with Mac or Linux.
posted by birdherder at 5:32 AM on February 1, 2008


I guess they're hoping two wrongs can make a right.
posted by rhymer at 5:34 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I personally think that Flickr is a pain in the arse and chucked my yahoo mail account ages ago because it kept crashing my browser.

Flickr is not catastophically bad but I think it could be more user-friendly.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 5:35 AM on February 1, 2008


catastrophically even.
posted by ClanvidHorse at 5:36 AM on February 1, 2008


Microsoft will manage to epically re-fuck all the companies that Yahoo's already fucked by acquisition.

I'm predicting that Flickr will get sold off if this deal goes through.
posted by tapeguy at 5:39 AM on February 1, 2008


does anybody actually use yahoo?

It's where I keep my spam.
posted by pompomtom at 5:40 AM on February 1, 2008 [11 favorites]


Yahoo confirmed that it has received an unsolicited offer and said that its board would evaluate the proposal, "carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo's strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders."

I think that means it's a big, fat yes.
posted by cameron.case at 5:42 AM on February 1, 2008


I like yahoo -- they've done a ton of stuff for the developer community, fostered a real sense of direct access to their programmers via blogs, etc...

(It should be noted that Microsoft has been moving in this direction as well... frankly, I love it and welcome it wherever it comes from.)

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how it works out. Microsoft is gonna have to do something dramatic in the long term anyway -- I mean, a few hours on Ubuntu make it pretty clear that linux on the desktop is about to become more acceptable, taking away their main cash cow.
posted by ph00dz at 5:43 AM on February 1, 2008


My concern as a Mac user is whether MS will be heavy handed and make the Yahoo side of the house a good shitty experience with Mac or Linux.

there, fixed it for me.
posted by birdherder at 5:43 AM on February 1, 2008


Microsoft should be trying to push their apps online: Word & Excel online would be a major threat (reverse threat?) to Google Docs; Outlook online could be a major competitor with Gmail. Internet Explorer should be hog-tied and beat like a drum. I doubt they will do any of this though.
posted by mattbucher at 5:47 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


does anybody actually use yahoo?

I've been using my Yahoo email account since 1998, flickr rocks, del.icio.us is the standard by which all other online bookmark services are measured (and I would say it even ushered in the web 2.0 era) and I think Yahoo's web hosting service is pretty dang righteous as well.

Yeah, I Yahoo.

However, I'm not a Microsoft fan, and I use Google a lot as well, so I'm curious to see how this all shakes down.

Amazing news though.
posted by cameron.case at 5:50 AM on February 1, 2008


I opened a Yahoo account because Hotmail has blown eggs from the day M$ started messing with it. Looks like I'll be looking for another mail provider eventually.
posted by localroger at 5:50 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


a few hours on Ubuntu make it pretty clear that linux on the desktop is about to become more acceptable, taking away their main cash cow

I have been hearing some form of this claim since the very first day I heard of Linux, which would've been about 12-13 years ago.
posted by aaronetc at 5:51 AM on February 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


Man, they're really afraid of Google.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:52 AM on February 1, 2008


Neither flickr nor delicious are catastrophically bad, no. But the entire time I'm using them I'm always frustrated. It's like trying to use a hammer with no handle or a telephone where the buttons are in random places. (Facebook is the same, only 100x worse--every single link I click surprises me, but not in a good way.) Or maybe I don't get the underlying metaphor.

Or maybe those kids on my lawn are shooting mind control rays at me. I should write a letter to the editor about that.
posted by DU at 5:53 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


For all of you who think Flickr is unusable, what is the alternative?

Seriously, I'm not trying to pick a fight. I love Flickr. I love having a place online to point friends and family to when I post photos (that I don't have to maintain myself), and I love the groups.

So far as I know, there are no other photo sharing sites that come at all close to the social features of Flickr. But if you know of an alternative place where I can share pictures of my dog with other fox terrier owners in an endless "mine is the cutest!" contest, then I'm all ears.

Especially if the deal goes through and MS mangles Flickr in favor of some half-assed live.com service.
posted by dehowell at 5:54 AM on February 1, 2008


My concern as a Mac user is whether MS will be heavy handed and make the Yahoo side of the house a good experience with Mac or Linux.

Considering Yahoo already treats the Mac as an ugly step-child and only begrudgingly (and belatedly) supports it, I wouldn't hold my breath for things to get any better. I'd look for Yahoo to become increasingly a Mac-hostile environment if this goes through.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:56 AM on February 1, 2008


I have been hearing some form of this claim since the very first day I heard of Linux

Have you used Ubuntu? A year ago I was on RH and getting sick of Linux. With N kids and other projects I wanted to work on, I just didn't have the time or energy to baby my conf files along, nurse my dlls back to health or coddle the kernel. I was ready to just give in and switch to OS X with my guru f-i-l to help.

Not to sound like a commercial, but: Then I installed Ubuntu. It's a whole new computer. I can actually use it now. I mean, to do things other than take care of the computer itself.
posted by DU at 5:57 AM on February 1, 2008


The only part of yahoo I've used in recent years is finance.

You should check out Google finance, it's pretty sweet. In fact, there was a blog post a while back by a former exec at Yahoo finance talking about how they didn't have a chance to implement their vision, and the product basically stagnated. Then he went on about how one of his former employees was working at Google and Google Finance had some of those features.
posted by delmoi at 5:58 AM on February 1, 2008


Yahoo: the advertising subtlety of Nascar, paired with the proprietary culture of Microsoft. Two great tastes that can best be represented by that youtube of the reporter who gets bird poop in his mouth.
posted by mecran01 at 6:05 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


(Facebook is the same, only 100x worse--every single link I click surprises me, but not in a good way.) Or maybe I don't get the underlying metaphor.

I don't think Facebook even has a metaphor. Nonetheless, once you learn it it's not too bad. Flickr is easy for me to use, and yeah better then facebook. I think the main problem with facebook is that the interface is designed for it's original purpose, which is very simple. You basically

1) Update your info
2) view your news feed
3) send and receive messages.

But now with all these applications, it's a total mess.

As far as Microsoft goes, they need to just split up the company. It's way too huge. It's essentially a few cash cows, which are so burdened under backwards compatibility that they can't move forward (office, windows). The rest of the company is like some massive internal VC creating new products (i.e. XBox, Zune). The company just needs to break up, rather then trying to run like the soviet union.
posted by delmoi at 6:06 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah... I hear ya, aaronet, but in 2008, it's actually true.
posted by ph00dz at 6:06 AM on February 1, 2008


SPIN OFF ZIMBRA, QUICKLY!
posted by Skorgu at 6:07 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


a few hours on Ubuntu make it pretty clear that linux on the desktop is about to become more acceptable, taking away their main cash cow

I have been hearing some form of this claim since the very first day I heard of Linux, which would've been about 12-13 years ago.


the thing is, the choice isn't to do with useability or the initial licence fee (or lack thereof); it's all about support. the support costs for linux are around the same as for microsoft, so from a business perspective, it's all a question of "why bother? what's the benefit?". whatever you do at home, it has nothing to do with the costs of changing an entire enterprise-wide OS for pretty much zero financial benefit.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:08 AM on February 1, 2008


why am i awake at 1am talking about operating systems? oh, right, that's exactly why I'm awake at 1am talking about operating systems
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:14 AM on February 1, 2008


I'll say one thing in favor of Yahoo: Yahoo Groups. If you want intra-group communication in email form with the option of scheduling events and uploading files and what not, Yahoo Groups is basically the only game in town. There used to be other comparable operations, but they're mostly dead now. Meetup.com is in the ballpark, but they're geared towards, well, meet-ups. And besides, I don't think they allow adult type groups. At least, I've never seen any there.

Oh, and I do know quite a few people who still use the Yahoo instant messenger.
posted by Clay201 at 6:16 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Microsoft is wasting their incredible cash reserves. Yahoo! is about the most milquetoast of companies when it comes to doing evil. Instead, Microsoft should start a bank with the money, and use the cash to prop up dictatorships.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:18 AM on February 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


Yahoo is a pretty big PHP and FreeBSD shop. If they're bought out I would expect MS to try and transition it all over to MS based technologies. Considering the issues MS had with Hotmail when it tried to do the same thing and this ecompasses multiple sites running on multiple different platforms things could go south quickly.
posted by PenDevil at 6:19 AM on February 1, 2008


but what, beyond the brand name, can Yahoo offer Microsoft?

I can think of three things off the top of my head:
  • A significant chunk of online advertising revenue. Microsoft is very interested in that market now.
  • Yahoo's partnership with eBay.
  • an entree into rich internet application development. Yahoo is currently using Flex and AJAX, while Microsoft is saddled with Silverlight.

posted by me & my monkey at 6:20 AM on February 1, 2008


dehowell: I tried Flickr, found it pretty awful (but free, hey!). I'm willing to pay for a site that works well, allows customization, etc. so I use SmugMug. But I don't care about "social features," which are clearly more well-developed on Flickr.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 6:20 AM on February 1, 2008


Holy cow!

This combined with Google first quarterly loss in FOREVAR is going to hammer GOOG. As for being a good strategic inventment, I think this is just MSFT acknowledging that they can't grow their way into the online advertising market. Overture is second to Google and if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em.
posted by GuyZero at 6:22 AM on February 1, 2008


Awwww, this is going to suck. Microsoft's web sites suck. They have crappy hard-to-use URLs with all sorts of cruft like "fwlink" and ".aspx?" that are forever changing and they take forever to load. I remember how Microsoft ruined Hotmail by switching it from Unix to Windows. I just can't wait until they do that to del.icio.us.
posted by grouse at 6:31 AM on February 1, 2008


Yahoo's Fantasy Sports interface is really well done (even though it can be a bit too ajaxy for my tastes at times), but somehow I don't see MSFT being interested in it just for the sports division.
posted by drezdn at 6:42 AM on February 1, 2008


I think it's unlikely that Yahoo will accept the offer.

If they do, I expect them to be subsumed into Microsoft over the next 6 years. Not only will they fall behind technologically, but they'll lose their branding.

Other than bums on seats, yahoo doesn't have much else good going for it.
If anything, this'll just strengthen Google's hold on the internet.
posted by seanyboy at 6:57 AM on February 1, 2008


I'm surprised by all the Flickr bad-mouthing. Buying a Flickr account is one of the few times I've actually shelled out money for an online service. I've been happy with it from Day 1.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 6:58 AM on February 1, 2008


"Sic transit gloria mundi"

I didn't know Gloria was sick.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:58 AM on February 1, 2008


I guess all the Microsoft fanboys except me are actually writing code and supporting systems to run actual businesses and too busy to analyze the latest MSFT rumor like the Ubuntu crowd.

:-)
posted by sfts2 at 6:59 AM on February 1, 2008


Neither flickr nor delicious are catastrophically bad, no. But the entire time I'm using them I'm always frustrated. It's like trying to use a hammer with no handle or a telephone where the buttons are in random places. (Facebook is the same, only 100x worse--every single link I click surprises me, but not in a good way.)

Can you go into some more detail? Are you disabled in some significant way, or perhaps is this your first month using a computer? The sites you mention are incredibly easy to use, and your analogy to a handle-less hammer or a random-buttoned telephone is truly baffling.
posted by xmutex at 7:00 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm trying hard to see this objectively, but it just looks like desperation to me.

MSFT already has lower-traffic, inferior versions of most Yahoo properties. So they buy Yahoo, and they get what?

Aside from that, this is basically a pure stock transaction. MSFT only has 7b in cash (and a book value of 22b). As an investor, my first instinct is to run, not walk, away from this mess.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:03 AM on February 1, 2008


B.T.W. I'm just calling dibs on "Yikerosoft" as the merged company's name.
posted by seanyboy at 7:03 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


[...]online advertising revenue[...]
[...]Yahoo's partnership with eBay[...]
[...]an entree into rich internet application development.


Ok, granted. Next question: are those worth forty-four billion dollars?

I mean, you could buy a substantial chunk of a city for that.
posted by Malor at 7:03 AM on February 1, 2008


Damn It!
Looks like everyone else took the more obvious spelling of Yicrosoft and ran with it.
posted by seanyboy at 7:05 AM on February 1, 2008


Yahoo! Fantasy Hockey is pretty sweet.
posted by notyou at 7:06 AM on February 1, 2008


It's all about advertising. MS has realized that they're never going to be a significant factor in the search market (they've been struggling to break 15% for years). The advertising dollars go where the searchers go, and the only other player in double digits is Yahoo.

This puts them at theoritical parity with Google, until of course, the massive brain drain out of Sunnyvale. I'll be the VCs are thrilled, all those new startups looking for people and money.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:10 AM on February 1, 2008


Malor, the only thing there that MSFT doesn't already have is a partnership with eBay. But what's that worth?

Your first post about the competencies is dead on. It's very hard to see what Yahoo brings to the table except for a hope that maybe they'll have more success if they simply buy a majority of the world's web traffic.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 7:12 AM on February 1, 2008


CheeseDigestsAll: I bet Google'sHR dept had a recruitment booth set up across the road from Y! about 3 minutes after the news broke.
posted by PenDevil at 7:14 AM on February 1, 2008


All I can say is they better not fuck with Flickr.
posted by danb at 7:16 AM on February 1, 2008


Although I almost never use Yahoo qua Yahoo, I do use and like Flickr, and Delicious, and Yahoogroups (well, like might be a little strong for Yahoogroups). I was apprehensive when Yahoo acquired Flickr and Delicious, although they managed not to mess them up.

As a user, I'd be deeply concerned that MS would not be so hands-off. I'd also be annoyed that finally, after all these years, MS would have suckered me into getting a Passport account. So I and many others might wind up defecting to Magnolia/Zooomr (or Picasa or whatever)/Googlegroups.

As an observer, I don't see this as MS putting itself in a position to compete more effectively with Google. Assuming MS goes in and tinkers with its new properties, I see it as MS removing Google's only competition.

Web users are fickle. As long as their data isn't completely captive, they'll quickly migrate from one service to a better one. MS getting its chocolate in Yahoo's peanut butter is only going to strengthen Google's hand.
posted by adamrice at 7:17 AM on February 1, 2008


Another milestone, as of today Netscape Navigator is dead.
posted by PenDevil at 7:21 AM on February 1, 2008


The sites you mention are incredibly easy to use...

Well, for instance, where's the button on flickr to show images in a useful organization? I've only ever found these modes.

1) Everything in thumbnail (good!) but when you click you have to click back to go back (or "browse" again) to see the thumbs (bad!). Also, you can't see the conversation, if any.

2) The left/right arrows that only show me the next image but nothing else so I have to clickclickclickclick past the ones I don't care about.

3) Some kind of "slideshow" mode that I can't even find now (an issue in itself) but in any case doesn't show me the posts or even descriptions.
posted by DU at 7:22 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


For people who are just interested in looking at the photos, rather than being "social," I agree that Flickr kinda sucks. Although it's better than it used to be.
posted by grouse at 7:26 AM on February 1, 2008


Microhoo.
posted by zeoslap at 7:26 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Yasoft!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:33 AM on February 1, 2008


For some bizarre, stubborn reason, to this day I still have my browser home page set to Yahoo, despite using for nothing other than quick links to news articles and comics.

The only thought/worry this has for me is how MS would want to integrate with Flickr.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:35 AM on February 1, 2008


I think it's unlikely that Yahoo will accept the offer.
I'm genuinely curious about why you think that. MSFT is offering 62% above Yahoo's share price, which means that everyone on Yahoo's end who'd be involved in the deal would make out nicely for themselves. They don't really give a damn about the users or what's going to happen to Yahoo after a takeover; they made themselves some money and that's all that really matters to them. I'd be surprised to see Yahoo reject the offer, and if they did there'd almost certainly be some lawsuits from stockholders.
posted by Godbert at 7:38 AM on February 1, 2008


Could someone tell me how the 'shotgun marriage' metaphor actually applies here? Or is it just something that sounds cool?
posted by Anything at 7:43 AM on February 1, 2008


Microsoft suffering setbacks? They just reported a spectacular quarter. And people do not migrate when they have a solution that works for them. Yahoo Finance has been consistently and massively popular for almost 10 years. It is probably one of the best financial sites. Google's foray into finance is a weak also ran.

Google is notorious for it's failure to execute. Orkut is a failure. Gmail adoption is weak. google video was a flop, and its replacement, youtube, still isn't monetized. Android only looks promising because no one has seen enough of it yet to say that it's no iPhone.

And you are all forgetting that Google just blew their quarter. Search and advertising is about to become a commodity. This is why Microsoft said they are comfortable in second place. They want to crush google's margins, not dominate the business.

Furthermore, don't forget also that this is the year that Xbox 360 becomes profitable.

Everyone thinking that there is going to be a brain drain out of yahoo is living about two years in the past. Google just lost about 230 pts on their stock price since November. You think that's going to incentivize people to quit yahoo/msft to join up?

This move is brilliant business strategy because it is by no means a bet-the-company gamble for Microsoft, but it will force Google to take some very significant risks to stay competitive. Now they have to try to monetize youtube, and push into cell phones. They have to try lots of things, many of which will fail.

Microsoft has to try nothing. They are in cell phones. They are under the TV. Yahoo owns very key properties that people will continue to use, like flickr, Yahoo Finance, Mail, etc.

And Vista has stung Microsoft badly enough that I don't think they are going to try to push their technology on Yahoo. In fact, they may view this as an opportunity to rejuvenate the company with Yahoo's corporate culture. What they do integrate, they will do very carefully.

Make no mistake, this merger means more competition right at the moment when google needs it the least.

And irony of ironies, you know those stock quotes on the iPhone? They come from Yahoo. Now they'll come from Microsoft.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:48 AM on February 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Gmail adoption is weak.

?!?
posted by DU at 7:49 AM on February 1, 2008


You think that's going to incentivize people to quit yahoo/msft to join up?

Well, to be fair, if you were going to get GOOG options, I'd rather have them at $500 rather than at $700.
posted by GuyZero at 7:50 AM on February 1, 2008


The only thought/worry this has for me is how MS would want to integrate with Flickr.

Microsoft has this cool create-3d-from-photos thing. Feed that with Flickr's data and compute, compute, compute. Voilà, a world of their own!
posted by Free word order! at 7:51 AM on February 1, 2008


What, beyond the brand name, did YouTube offer Google?

- Quite a shitton of rabidly loyal users...


I'm not familiar with that unit of measure. How does the shitton fit into the International System of Units?
posted by fairmettle at 7:53 AM on February 1, 2008


Also, this is the first I've heard of Google definitely being in the phone market. "It's no iPhone" is music to my ears. Maybe I can afford it!
posted by DU at 7:53 AM on February 1, 2008


DU: Gmail has barely 3% of the webmail market.
posted by PenDevil at 7:54 AM on February 1, 2008


They'll accept. Directors are legally required to represent the financial interests of shareholders, and a 62% premium is just that.

And oh, the elitism in this thread is pathetic. "I only use Linux and and does Yahoo still even exist? I'm so fucking cool."
posted by aerotive at 7:54 AM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm always surprised when people don't like Flickr's interface. I've found it to be one of the most intuitive web applications I've ever used, with the exception of the old Organizer.

Well, for instance, where's the button on flickr to show images in a useful organization?

You'll have to be a little clearer on what "useful" means.

1) Everything in thumbnail (good!) but when you click you have to click back to go back (or "browse" again) to see the thumbs (bad!). Also, you can't see the conversation, if any.

I don't see the problem with the first part. If you're looking at thumbnails, and then click on a photo, isn't going to a new page that shows you the photo expected behavior? Do you mean that you'd rather see the transition between photo pages and thumbnail listings be AJAX?

As for the second point, I realize that it's personal preference but I much prefer only seeing the comments on the individual photo pages. Think of your average blog -- the main page that lists all the entries will tell you how many comments each entry has, but you have to go to that entry's page to read them. It reduces clutter.

2) The left/right arrows that only show me the next image but nothing else so I have to clickclickclickclick past the ones I don't care about.

Actually, the left and right arrows were added after users asked for them. They wanted to be able to scan through the thumbnails without having to load a bunch of different pages. It's most useful for users on slow connections. If you want to page through photos one by one, you can still click on the square thumbnails above the arrows.

3) Some kind of "slideshow" mode that I can't even find now (an issue in itself) but in any case doesn't show me the posts or even descriptions.

There is a link that says "view as slideshow" at the top right of every photostream, set, and group. It's in the same place for all of them.

I'm not sure what you mean by "posts." Comments, maybe? Surely listing the comments underneath the photos would distract from the purpose of a slideshow.

If you want to see titles and descriptions of photos during a slideshow, you can toggle that by clicking on a photo.
posted by danb at 7:57 AM on February 1, 2008


Not elitism. I really did think all the techies were over to Linux by now. And seriously...Yahoo? They don't even run TV advertisements anymore (that I see). But then, I'm also stunned that gmail only has 3% of the market. Everyone I know (online and off) uses it and it's the only webmail client I ever see mentioned online without <scorn> tags around it.

I guess I'm in a bubble.
posted by DU at 7:58 AM on February 1, 2008


the thing is, the choice isn't to do with useability or the initial licence fee (or lack thereof); it's all about support. the support costs for linux are around the same as for microsoft, so from a business perspective, it's all a question of "why bother? what's the benefit?"

Yeah, but for home use the "support" costs are essentially zero, plus a reinstall every six months for people who don't know what they're doing.

Well, for instance, where's the button on flickr to show images in a useful organization? I've only ever found these modes.

Well, define "useful"? The slideshow mode is kind of useless if you're on dialup (as I discovered trying to show my mom some pictures). But if you're on broadband it's great. The other two modes are fine for viewing pictures as well. And that's what you're doing, viewing someone else's pictures. How 'organized' do they need to be?

If you want to organize your own pictures, there is a link at the top to organize and I found the interface pretty straightforward.
posted by delmoi at 7:59 AM on February 1, 2008


Yahoo confirmed that it has received an unsolicited offer and said that its board would evaluate the proposal, "carefully and promptly in the context of Yahoo's strategic plans and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders."

That's a response to this, in the letter from Microsoft:

Depending on the nature of your response, Microsoft reserves the right to pursue all necessary steps to ensure that Yahoo!'s shareholders are provided with the opportunity to realize the value inherent in our proposal.

So, yeah, Microsoft says they'll go for a hostile takeover if necessary, Yahoo responds with "Yikes".
posted by disclaimer at 8:01 AM on February 1, 2008


Excellent points, Pastabagel.

Google has done a spectacular job of stealing all the press, but Microsoft is still Microsoft. They still have mammoth cash reserves; they can afford to overpay for Yahoo. Yes, Vista might have blown and Office 2007 may be worthless, but Microsoft and Yahoo are still extremely viable.

And anyone who still types M$ with anything resembling seriousness really needs to have their diaper changed.
posted by solistrato at 8:02 AM on February 1, 2008


Yahoo's Fantasy Sports interface is really well done (even though it can be a bit too ajaxy for my tastes at times), but somehow I don't see MSFT being interested in it just for the sports division.

You'd be surprised. There was just an article in Fast Company about how Yahoo Sports is a major competitor to ESPN.com now, in ad revenue and in traffic.
posted by smackfu at 8:02 AM on February 1, 2008


UbuRoivas writes "does anybody actually use yahoo?"

I used to use flickr before they required Yahoo! logins.

blasdelf writes "Microsoft will manage to epically re-fuck all the companies that Yahoo's already fucked by acquisition."

Ya, MS version of groups should blow.

tapeguy writes "I'm predicting that Flickr will get sold off if this deal goes through."

Has microsoft ever split a company up after buying it?

mattbucher writes "Outlook online could be a major competitor with Gmail."

Not if they insist on using something as braindead as Outlook Web Access.

Clay201 writes "I'll say one thing in favor of Yahoo: Yahoo Groups. If you want intra-group communication in email form with the option of scheduling events and uploading files and what not, Yahoo Groups is basically the only game in town. "

Now imagine it where you could easily download all the archives, there wasn't a fricken' interstatial every third message, and the host didn't just drop messages when ever they felt like it. That's groups before yahoo took over.
posted by Mitheral at 8:06 AM on February 1, 2008


I guess I'm in a bubble.

Me too. Until I saw my neighborhood e-mail list, I thought everyone was on gmail. It turns out, people seem to use the e-mail service provided by their ISP. Previously, I thought only my 70yo mom did that.
posted by probablysteve at 8:06 AM on February 1, 2008


DU: It's partly a bubble (hello self-reinforcing blogosphere and a media that increasingly takes its cues from it!), but also partly that corporate adoption rates are probably not as high as once projected. Microsoft more than likely redoubled their sales efforts with corporate clients and managed to keep enough IT buyers on their side. Plus, while it might be more robust for the servers to run open source, the business world lives and breathes Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook. A company selling an open source business solution simply doesn't have the muscle or power to compete with Microsoft except as a minority-alternative solution.

I was also surprised by the low adoption rate of Gmail, but people really like to stick with what they have. Hell, I've been trying to get my parents off AOL (!!!) for years, but they know it, they like it, and even though they have a direct broadband link into their computer that makes AOL super-redundant, it's what they know. Inertia FTW!
posted by solistrato at 8:07 AM on February 1, 2008


MS valuing Yahoo shares at 62% above the Yahoo price this week? That's a lot of lay-offs and a lot of synergies to be realised.

Keep in mind that just 60 days ago YHOO was valued at the price MSFT is offering, and they'd been stable thereabouts for 3-4 years. I don't think the current low price is due to fundamental changes in the business, but general tech market suckage.
posted by smackfu at 8:07 AM on February 1, 2008


Just to throw in another Yahoo! success story: I'm as cynical as the next guy, but Pipes blew my mind with its actual uitility. So much that I can hardly believe it's Yahoo!.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:08 AM on February 1, 2008


You'd be surprised. There was just an article in Fast Company about how Yahoo Sports is a major competitor to ESPN.com now, in ad revenue and in traffic.

I read that article, and I have to admit, I'm rooting for Yahoo Sports to beat ESPN in the long run.
posted by drezdn at 8:11 AM on February 1, 2008


It turns out, people seem to use the e-mail service provided by their ISP. Previously, I thought only my 70yo mom did that.

Why wouldn't they? They're paying for the service, anyway. It doesn't mean they don't also use a gmail address...and a yahoo address...and an msn address, etc. The free services make excellent spam dumps.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:15 AM on February 1, 2008


And anyone who still types M$ with anything resembling seriousness really needs to have their diaper changed.

This is the standard rebuttal, I think.
posted by sparkletone at 8:18 AM on February 1, 2008


Google is already experimenting with monetizing (god I hate that word so much) YT, in-video ads are coming and so is profit-sharing for uploaders.

It will be interesting to see how Google responds to the soft quarter. They're certainly out of growth in the online advertising sphere just as Apple is out of growth in ipods. Of course Microsoft is utterly failing to compete in the OS sphere, Office is looking a little weak and I haven't seen any quality products emerge from their much-vaunted research division in a long time.

Remember that Microsoft is a marketing company with a vestigial software development arm. They'll do well financially with Yahoo (if they get it) but I don't buy for a second that their tactics will change a whit.

You can bet the farm that I'll be moving off of both del.icio.us and flickr if this deal goes through. Fortunately the del.icio.us api makes this pretty easy.

Oh and some people have come to technical decisions to avoid microsoft products if there are substitutes after years of experience with installations of all sizes. I don't particularly care if you call me an elitist but nobody who does this for a living is going to take you seriously.
posted by Skorgu at 8:22 AM on February 1, 2008


pastabagel nails it as usual.

Many reasons to do acquisitions, and with the deep pockets MS has, it can afford to overpay somewhat as the risk and actual cash outlay that it would require to build the ad business and acquire the users would be quite comparable I expect - although its hard to estimate accurately. Add the confusion to the enemy factor, and the fact of the matter is, there are very few acquisition targets that are of a size that are meaningful to MS. Having said that, I don't understand the valuations that both Google and now Yahoo have commanded - I mean I understand the numbers, but the whole business is just based on shit that nobody really wants to see anyway...if I was king, the net would go to a reasonable micro-payment architecture supporting a subscription fee for valuable content and stop cluttering up my desktop with ads.

I LOVE the fact MeFi doesn't have ads.
posted by sfts2 at 8:23 AM on February 1, 2008


I LOVE the fact MeFi doesn't have ads.

MeFi does have ads.
posted by danb at 8:25 AM on February 1, 2008


skorgu

'Nobody who does this for a living is going to take you seriously'

Er, what? Does what for a living?
posted by sfts2 at 8:25 AM on February 1, 2008


danb,

Where?

Nowhere I go...which is for me the same thing.
posted by sfts2 at 8:26 AM on February 1, 2008


Actually, the funny thing is that Yahoo is better known for it's adjunct services - Y!Messenger, Y!Mail, Y!Groups, Y!Answers, Flickr, Konfabulator/Y!Widgets, Del.icio.us, Y!Personals, Y!Web/Geocities, Y!Finance, Y!Games...

This is one of the reasons that Yahoo has such a "bloated" front page compared to Google.

Google is designed around search. They are the search people. They have the technology to make connections, which has helped them in advertising, but their services are not as varied, or as mature, (and in some cases, not as robust) as the services offered by Yahoo.

This is how Yahoo can actually deliver more pageviews than Google; because people are using Yahoo for their SAAS/Web Apps. The irony is that Google is used to find information on the Web, but alot of that information resides at places like Flickr or Y!360.

What this means for Microsoft is that buying Yahoo is a much more natural coalition. Microsoft doesn't do search. Windows Live is a flop and there's a good reason for it - because it's not that good. What Microsoft DOES do is computer software, and SAAS is just a new form of computer software. I think there will be some synergy - not as much as maybe Microsoft thinks - but some synergy as Microsoft's army of software developers starts focusing more on SAAS solutions.
posted by BrianBoyko at 8:27 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


SAAS which is the direction that the new OS is going too (which sucks IMHO), so you are right on.
posted by sfts2 at 8:32 AM on February 1, 2008


Would this deal be good for MSFT? Hard to say. Is it necessary? Abso-fucking-lutely.

They've been trying to get into the internet game since 1995, and where has it gotten them? Hotmail is, without a doubt, the worst web email service I've ever used. Their spam filter is so bad, I'm convinced that it's actually creating spam. And as bad as it is, Hotmail is really their only successful internet venture.

I think that it's quite clear to the Redmond suits that they need to adapt or die. I don't see Linux dominating the desktop world any time soon, but even in absence of that, where is the OS market going? It's pretty damn stagnant. Vista was supposed to be their last hurrah in the OS market, and it has underwhelmed nearly everybody. Personally, I think they've found a sort of "limits to growth" point with their current OS model, and I'm not entirely sure that innovation in that area is even possible without killing backwards compatibility or massively changing their approach to the problem.

Office is still going strong, and I personally think that MS will continue to own the office space for at least another 10 years, regardless of whose OS it runs on. But again, where's the office market going? They already own it. At this point, it's all about keeping it.

MS is doing pretty well in the server and development space, but I think this is a tree that may not bear fruit for a number of years. .NET is great, SQL Server is great, Windows Server is, umm... alright, I guess. The MS stack is fine to develop for, but not nearly as entrenched as Unix. Give it a few years.

So MS wants an immediate growth area. Remember back in the 90s when MS was a growth stock, and they could actually attract top talent with the promise of stock options? MS wants to be that company again, instead of Boring Old Microsoft that makes a product that absolutely nobody is enthusiastic about. The way to go for growth is online, and since they've been trying for 13 years to break into that market with little success, they're going to buy their way into it. Will they see a return on their investment? Maybe not. Will it give them a foothold? You sure as hell better believe it. MS is playing catch-up in the online arena, and they know it. But what other choice do they have?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:35 AM on February 1, 2008


sfts2, the ads are displayed if you are not logged in.
posted by grouse at 8:35 AM on February 1, 2008


"I'd also be annoyed that finally, after all these years, MS would have suckered me into getting a Passport account."

You know, I bet that is the actual value proposition to MS. All your Yahoo userIDs are belong to us.

There's a huge community of content behind MS Passport UserIDs which is more-or-less invisible to persons outside Passport City, because MS made an administrative decision to enforce Passport membership as the UserID management system. It's a sensible choice from their perspective, but one which has made most users blind to the web 2.0-blog-social tools and services that MS has been standing up over the past five years.

Friends of mine who went with the Passport-locked blogging tools eventually just fell off of my blog radar because it was a hassle to comment and sometimes even content per se was locked out. My faulty recollection is that if you needed to jump to a deeper page or wanted to view a photo gallery sometimes you would be prompted to login with your Passport ID in interstitials

Merging your flickr/yahoo userIDs into Passport and applying delicious to the content generated by the Passport-based content-producing communities stands a reasonable chance of providing MS a fighting base to start tackling Google with.

Additionally, MS has been head-to-head with Yahoo in Certain Hairy International Newly Accessible markets in deploying these social-media tools, which are highly attractive to the gummint due to the centralized nature of the content storage and deployment systems. Acquiring Yahoo's international social-media properties would also buttress MS as a competitor to Google outside the US, which is where the most significant growth and revenue opportunities will be for the next twenty years anyway.

On balance, I'd say that this acquisition makes a great deal of sense, but only if my unresearched opinions regarding the Chinese market and the Yahoo userID and Passport merger are borne out by others more well informed.
posted by mwhybark at 8:36 AM on February 1, 2008


I use Yahoo a lot. They have done a good job with Y!ToGo for the Blackberry, I like Yahoo Instant Messenger better than the others, and as the others have mentioned, there's Flickr. I would half expect Microsoft to screw up Yahoo's Mac friendliness though.

After Google bought Youtube and Orkut, I did notice something.. both were taken over by primarily South American users. Orkut was flooded with Brazilians who would leave racist comments in Portugese, and now Youtube is flooded with soccer videos and pseudo-porn spam.

So who knows what'll happen. Yahoo may say "no thanks."
posted by drstein at 8:40 AM on February 1, 2008


Google just blew their quarter.

Oh, give me a break. Revenues were up 50%. That's way above the kind of growth MS is seeing. The only reason it was considered "disappointing" is that per share earnings were $0.04 lower than "expectations."
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:40 AM on February 1, 2008


sfts2, the ads are displayed if you are not logged in.

Even if you are logged in, there's an ad at the top right of the main page (when someone buys one, anyway -- there is one right now for "Dice -- the career hub for tech insiders"). It's possible that you may have AdBlocked it and forgotten it was ever there. :)
posted by danb at 8:41 AM on February 1, 2008


...and, as I go back to the main page to look for another thread, it's gone. I guess they ran out of impressions.
posted by danb at 8:43 AM on February 1, 2008


sfts2, the ads are displayed if you are not logged in.

"sfts2, the world is a post-nuclear hunk of smoldering rock, fractured rubble cities and endless rows of bodies if you're not logged in."


That's what you might as well be saying. If you're not logged into your house, it's a freezing, dangerous and hostile world outside. Logged in, there are no ads. There is no spoon.
posted by cashman at 8:44 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know, when I first heard about this I was also thinking "Yahoo? People still use Yahoo? Why would they do that? Laaame."

But then I read this thread and comments like this:

I'm not fan of yahoo, but they own both flickr and delicious.

they've done a ton of stuff for the developer community, fostered a real sense of direct access to their programmers via blogs, etc...

The only part of yahoo I've used in recent years is finance.

Just to throw in another Yahoo! success story: I'm as cynical as the next guy, but Pipes blew my mind with its actual uitility. So much that I can hardly believe it's Yahoo!.

I'll say one thing in favor of Yahoo: Yahoo Groups

Yahoo's Fantasy Sports interface is really well done

The advertising dollars go where the searchers go, and the only other player in double digits is Yahoo.


They certainly add up to produce a coherent strategy.
posted by like_neon at 8:46 AM on February 1, 2008


I think it's unlikely that Yahoo will accept the offer.

Too bad for Yahoo, but it's not up to them. It's up to the shareholders, almost 80% of whom are mutual funds aching from the declining share price, and all of whom want this deal to go through. Microsoft is going to take its bid to these shareholders, and they'll change the board to include people who will say yes.

Yes, Vista might have blown and Office 2007 may be worthless, but Microsoft and Yahoo are still extremely viable.


Remember the disaster that was Windows Me? Then they came out with Windows XP, which was a huge success. Microsoft is still stinging from Vista - they won't make that mistake twice in a row.

And I don't think people are grasping the disparity in scale here. Microsoft Office alone generates almost as much revenue as Google in its entirety. Microsoft's sales force is legendary. 1 out of every 8 pc's shipped comes with MS Office Standard in addition to Windows. Does Google even have a sales force, other than SEO marketers?

Everyone has been thinking about what MSFT gets, but think about what yahoo gets. They get access to the desktop. They get access to PDA's and phones. They get access to cable television.

Here's a random example. Imagine you go into a ritz camera store and you can access your flickr account to make prints from the photos you upload there. Yahoo and google can't make that happen, because their don't have the regional personnel or the depth of personnel to make that happen, i.e. to get that capability put into every retail outlet.

Now imagine that you get access to every public image on flickr from that kiosk, and you can make prints (or even posters?) from those images. And imagine that some percentage of that sale works it's way to flickr/yhoo/msft, and some percentage of that goes back to the holder of the flickr account. Something like this instantly makes flickr and ritz camera more useful. (ritz is just an example, could be anyone). But only microsoft has the ability to push wants on the internet into the real world in a ubiquitous way.

Even apple can't do this. Everything they do is very high margin and low volume, and they control it all. But it can't scale well. At the retail level, Apple works on the scale of a fine dining restaurant. Microsoft works on the scale of McDonald's. They monetize everything. That doesn't necessarily mean that you the consumer will pay, but it means that someone will pay. Google is content letting things rot in beta forever.

For the first time in years, (since the antitrust case really) Microsoft is getting interesting again.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:49 AM on February 1, 2008 [14 favorites]


I've been using my Yahoo email account since 1998, flickr rocks, del.icio.us is the standard by which all other online bookmark services are measured (and I would say it even ushered in the web 2.0 era)

Yeah, but see, you actually believe there's something called "web 2.0". This completely disqualifies your opinions for serious consideration as well as exposes you as a numb-brained consumoron whose few remaining thought processes are dictated by a phalanx of buzzword-spewing marketdroids.
posted by Horken Bazooka at 8:51 AM on February 1, 2008


So Yahoo stock is up 44 %... Somebody likes it.
posted by zach4000 at 8:52 AM on February 1, 2008


Er, what? Does what for a living?

You know, the whole computery thingies.

Contrary to popular belief, "working with computers" is an actual field now with measurable, repeatable measurements of performance. Thanks to the modern miracles of Math and the Scientific Method we can make objective statements about the superiority of certain techniques and products over others given a set of conditions for them to be evaluated with.
posted by Skorgu at 9:00 AM on February 1, 2008


OmniCorp should buy Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and Apple.
posted by mattbucher at 9:01 AM on February 1, 2008


I don't know how long 44b will last in a war with google. But it would be good for at least five months in Iraq.
posted by notreally at 9:08 AM on February 1, 2008


So Yahoo stock is up 44 %... Somebody likes it.

Eh, doesn't mean much. Almost any takeover bid will immediately move the stock to the price that is being offered. (The interesting thing is how it adjusts when they falls through.)
posted by smackfu at 9:11 AM on February 1, 2008


And anyone who still types M$ with anything resembling seriousness really needs to have their diaper changed.

Bravo. Agreed. Grow the fuck up. Also, anytime a person, without any hint of irony, types "Microshaft," god murders a kitten. Think about it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:11 AM on February 1, 2008


Why would they pay that much for a fantasy sports company? Oh wait, they do other stuff too?
posted by ALongDecember at 9:13 AM on February 1, 2008


skorgu, Oh, so you work with computers? And no one is taking what seriously exactly? Microsoft? Is this a joke of some kind? Are you mistaking your strongly held opinion for objective fact? What metrics are you using? What is your point? I think I know, but am struggling to believe you are serious.

Oh, and by the way, pastabagel wins again. Although the McD's metaphor is a little tortured.

Anyway, this thread is like so much masturbation. Acquisition success depends upon strategy AND execution, and the jury's out for some time on this.

For those, responding to my no-ad comment - sorry for the derail and thanks for the info, no AdBlock, but forgot about the hosts filter...
posted by sfts2 at 9:38 AM on February 1, 2008


Might Google Buy the New York Times?
posted by nickyskye at 9:49 AM on February 1, 2008


I shudder to think of the usability of MSMessenger being applied to Yahoo Messenger, which is my favorite IM. I despair at the thought of Yahoo Mail *ahem* working *ahem* as poorly as hotmail works. And flickr? Oh god no, please don't let Microsoft anywhere near flickr; they'll just fuck it up and make it as unusable as Office 2007 and Vista are now! Please, FCC, look very closely into this proposed merger and make it stop!
posted by Lynsey at 9:51 AM on February 1, 2008


I really did think all the techies were over to Linux by now. And seriously...Yahoo?
The techies are going to OS X. And seriously: Google for "www" and see what you get. Yahoo's front page is the most visited page on the internet.

I'm with pastabagel on this: This could be a really interesting time for the net, if they manage this correctly. If the good guys at Yahoo (who are nearly all below the management level) can get access to the sort of leverage given by being part of the company that owns Windows ... well, shit. We could actually get some proper damn desktop-net integration.

Of course, the Microsoft side could take charge, and then we'd end up with .Mac. Boo.

(How many hits has Google had, btw? Search, yes. GMail is a critical success. Blogger. Er...)
posted by bonaldi at 9:56 AM on February 1, 2008


Oh, and Office 2007 haters can suck it. That thing rocks*

*For a given value of rocks which is: better than all the other shit, if nowhere near perfect yet, but still definitely better than any word processor I can find for my Mac
posted by bonaldi at 9:57 AM on February 1, 2008


My first e-mail address was a Yahoo address, and I still have it, if only as a spam trap. My first struggling attempts at a webpage was on Yahoo, and I still have that out there. My Yahoo's still my homepage, simply because I'm too damn lazy to go customize any page that will aggregate information for me. I use flickr a lot. A LOT. Yahoo was the first webpage I ever visited, to look up information about Babylon 5 (and Melrose Place, but I'll deny that til the day I die).

I'm not saying it's worth what Microsoft's offering for it, but I'm saying that I don't understand the derision being poured upon Yahoo, especially if you've been using the web for more than, say, 10 years.

I mean, it's got sentimental value, if nothing else.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:03 AM on February 1, 2008


I had a bad feeling recently when Yahoo groups ask their list owners to remove all visuals stored in a group's files, take the images to Flickr. Yahoo Groups offer the most efficient tools for a list owner having a specific topic related discussion group. Haven't really check out Yahoo's online store function but I've met people who have made money using that. Does anyone know a better storefront than Yahoo, other than eBay?

I've noted Yahoo's search function does find things Google's search doesn't pick up and I don't understand why.

Yahoo mail is, or used to be, less hackable than hotmail. My mail felt safer there, as my hotmail account was hacked several times.

del.ico.us could definitely be improved. It loads incredible slowly, the search function loads like molasses in winter, organizing tags is impossible once they've been made. Still, in spite of its flaws, I love delicious.

Having become thoroughly disgusted with hotmail, it bodes ill that MS is acquiring Yahoo. It's like whatever MS touches causes instant arthritis, losing flexibility and breadth of function. Then they add insult to injury by blinding the user with spam. ugh. It's the old fogey of web 1.0.
posted by nickyskye at 10:07 AM on February 1, 2008


This is the move MSFT should have made two years ago, back when YHOO was going through its Web 2.0 buying binge. Why now? I think they've been waiting for YHOO to stumble so they could pounce on them for LESS than what it would cost if they were more successful.

Windows Live was a dismal failure because they were trying too hard to make a corporate version of Google/Yahoo apps. Yahoo has a lot of interesting content pieces as mentioned above (including Upcoming, which no one has mentioned but I think is what Evite would be if it were written by professionals).

Yahoo gambled on all these Web 2.0 sites with the idea that they could mash them together. They got some of the best people in the industry to work on some really nice tools for developers (like YUI). They've been embracing web standards more and more. To a web geek, they've been doing more right than wrong.

The question comes to whether Yahoo can change Microsoft's culture. The MSFT problem, from a web geek standpoint, is that the only one in the company who consistently has been public about a need for web standards has been Chris Wilson. The company is filled with application developers but not a lot of strong web people. Yahoo, OTOH, is nothing but strong web people. That collision, between the people in Redmond treating the Web just like another PC platform and the people in Sunnyvale treating the Web as a unique platform with little similarity to the PC, is going to be interesting to watch.

As for GOOG, well, the oncoming recession is going to give them their first real clobbering financially, as advertising spending will be the first thing hit hard. They're sitting on billions in cash just like MSFT. The question is whether they'll burn it all trying to maintain state or start lopping off jobs, benefits, and units (bye bye Orkut) in the name of surviving the downturn.

And as for Vista, honestly MSFT, FINISH SP1 ALREADY. I'm tired of the weird minute-long freezes. MSFT did the right thing in going the Vista route -- the ideas and concepts in the new core are absolutely solid. Their execution, not so much. Vista is quite redeemable, if they can just simplify the features, simplify the product line, and focus on making it faster.
posted by dw at 10:10 AM on February 1, 2008


Google is notorious for it's failure to execute. Orkut is a failure.

How so?

Gmail adoption is weak.

Tell that to, um, everyone I know.

google video was a flop, and its replacement, youtube, still isn't monetized.

GV was not too exciting, but the idea that Youtube won't make much money is kind of absurd.

Android only looks promising because no one has seen enough of it yet to say that it's no iPhone.

So what? Android is open source, Google is just giving it to handset makers for them to support open systems. It doesn't need to be that great. It's supposed to be the Linux of handsets
And anyone who still types M$ with anything resembling seriousness really needs to have their diaper changed.
Bravo. Agreed. Grow the fuck up. Also, anytime a person, without any hint of irony, types "Microshaft," god murders a kitten. Think about it.


Anyone who actually gets upset about seeing the string "M$" has issues. I mean, why on earth would you be bothered by a corporation being insulted? It's just bizarre. If you feel it's somehow immature, well, so what? What difference could it possibly make? If you think it makes "your side" look bad, then you have to ask, look bad to whom? Idiot MCSEs? People so wrapped up in the company they care when it's slandered?

those are the people who need to grow up.
posted by delmoi at 10:11 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


a few hours on Ubuntu make it pretty clear that linux on the desktop is about to become more acceptable

A few hours on Ubuntu left me cold. Update this, update that. Oh, you want this feature, well go dig out a extension to do that. You want WINE to work, well, here's a long set of instructions I have trouble getting through and there's no way in hell my mother could get through.

It is far friendlier than RH, without a doubt, but I still feel this elitism coming out of it. A great OS, just like a great browser, shouldn't be elitist. It shouldn't be anything, really. It should just be. You shouldn't even need to know it's there. OS X is pretty good about it, as was XP. Vista needs help with the "unobtrusiveness." It feels like I can't open Notepad without having to confirm I'm the administrator on the computer.
posted by dw at 10:15 AM on February 1, 2008


Google is notorious for it's failure to execute. Orkut is a failure.

How so?


It had a lot of heat when it came out, since it was an inside project that was invite only and was all about Google running right at Friendster. Remember Friendster? Good times.

I haven't used Orkut in years. It got overrun very quickly with Brazilians, just like Fotolog did. I think Orkut internationally is the most popular social network in Brazil, but it's still behind Friendster in the English-speaking world.

Orkut is a failure because Google put a lot behind the project, trumpeting it as an example of their "20%" policy, but it was underthought and underintegrated and offered nowhere near the personalization that MySpace offered.
posted by dw at 10:22 AM on February 1, 2008


sfts2: despite the number of question marks in your post I have no idea what you're asking. Granted it's Friday afternoon so I may not be at my most clear, so I'll give it another whirl.

Many people who work in technical industries have formed opinions on the technical capabilities of products by various vendors. These opinions, I find, are shared almost without variation among competent people in diverse sectors and situations. Labeling, without discrimination, anyone who makes a statement on the technical superiority of one over the other does not strike me as an effective way to be taken seriously.
posted by Skorgu at 10:22 AM on February 1, 2008


Tell that to, um, everyone I know.

OK, I will. What's that going to be? 300-400 people, tops? That circle doesn't compare on the scale Microsoft and Yahoo are at. Gmail has 3%. This is like Apple all over again. Sure, all my friends and I use Macs. But 95% of the world's computers are Microsoft.

The folks you know don't compare.
posted by bonaldi at 10:23 AM on February 1, 2008


People so wrapped up in the company they care when it's slandered? those are the people who need to grow up.

Microsoft could slide into Puget Sound for all I care, delmoi. Typing M$ and or Microshaft is as tired as a Sinbad routine, is all.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:24 AM on February 1, 2008


Tell that to, um, everyone I know.

Everyone you know != Everyone.

Me, last month at my grandmother's funeral:

EVERY RELATIVE I TALKED TO: Can I have your e-mail address?

ME: Sure. {something}@gmail.com.

ERITT: Gmail?

ME: Yeah, Gmail.

ERITT: What's that?

ME: Google's email service?

ERITT: Google has e-mail?

ME: (dumbfounded) Yeah. What's yours?

ERITT: {something}@(hotmail||aol).com

ME: OK....
posted by dw at 10:26 AM on February 1, 2008


those are the people who need to grow up.

I don't care about Microsoft or the feelings of its employees. I don't care that people are making fun of Microsoft, in fact, I encourage them to do so! I am in favor of things that are funny.

My problem with "M$" is that it was never funny, or clever, or anything else. It's the same sort of grating, juvenile shit that various conservative commentators are pulling when they go, "HURF DURF. OBAMA --> OSAMA."

It causes me to immediately pigeonhole the speaker in the manner suggested by the Penny Arcade strip I linked.
posted by sparkletone at 10:28 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


sparkletone: That puts you on the same level as those you are criticizing, IMO.
posted by wierdo at 10:43 AM on February 1, 2008


Typing M$ and or Microshaft is as tired as a Sinbad routine, is all.

Comedians in full-body sparkling tracksuits will never grow old, they just fade away.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:46 AM on February 1, 2008


Thinking that "M$" isn't funny or clever puts sparkletone at the same level as the unfunny and unclever people who use it? I don't understand.
posted by grouse at 10:47 AM on February 1, 2008


¥ahoo!
posted by smackfu at 10:48 AM on February 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


sparkletone: That puts you on the same level as those you are criticizing, IMO.

Judging someone (or at the very least their contribution to a conversation) by their level of discourse is... What?

I don't understand this.
posted by sparkletone at 10:58 AM on February 1, 2008


Comedians in full-body sparkling tracksuits will never grow old, they just fade away.

Laffo. I stand corrected. I'll substitute Dennis Miller.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 11:00 AM on February 1, 2008


₲¢¢₲£€?
posted by cillit bang at 11:00 AM on February 1, 2008


Also, anytime a person, without any hint of irony, types "Microshaft," god murders a kitten.

If you type "Microshaft" while masturbating, God kills a tiger.
posted by demagnetized at 11:05 AM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Do people use Yahoo?" = "I don't really watch television."
posted by Jay Reimenschneider at 11:16 AM on February 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


This seems like a desperate move for MS. They got a stay of execution once Bush got into office because he's corrupt to the core, but he's halfway out the door and they need to take advantage of a permissive business environment and get in the final abuse of their monopoly before the grownups get back in charge.

Finding replacements for flickr and del.icio.us is going to be a pain in the ass.
posted by mullingitover at 11:25 AM on February 1, 2008


This almost has the look of a poison pill.

But who could do a hostile takeover of Microsoft-- Exxon-Mobil?
posted by jamjam at 11:32 AM on February 1, 2008


Well, I have to mull that 'blame Bush' reference over...

Do people really judge/select applications by who own them rather than how they work?
posted by sfts2 at 11:32 AM on February 1, 2008


(This may be the most expensive chair ever thrown against an office wall.)

Not even close. Remember this beauty?
posted by spock at 11:56 AM on February 1, 2008


What the hell is a Zimmer?
posted by Afroblanco at 12:13 PM on February 1, 2008


Zimmer
posted by Duug at 12:16 PM on February 1, 2008


They got a stay of execution once Bush got into office because he's corrupt to the core, but he's halfway out the door and they need to take advantage of a permissive business environment and get in the final abuse of their monopoly before the grownups get back in charge.

The grownups they're now giving political donations to?
Microsoft has the largest political action committee of any computer or Internet company in the country. In 2005 and 2006, it gave Republicans 58 percent of its $832,000 in campaign contributions. Right now, Microsoft is giving 59 percent of contributions to Democrats.
Ballmer knows which side his bread is buttered on. If there's an anti-trust suit against a tech giant during the Clinton/Obama administration, it'll be against Google.
posted by dw at 12:16 PM on February 1, 2008




$832k is a bit of a joke as far as campaign contributions go.
posted by smackfu at 12:18 PM on February 1, 2008


of indeed Zimmers
posted by Duug at 12:18 PM on February 1, 2008


A Zimmer is also a beautiful, elegant, sporty automobile, with taste, power and no connection whatsoever to cocaine-snuffling 80s stockbroker stereotypes.
posted by wzcx at 12:19 PM on February 1, 2008


I haven't used Orkut in years. It got overrun very quickly with Brazilians, just like Fotolog did. I think Orkut internationally is the most popular social network in Brazil, but it's still behind Friendster in the English-speaking world…I haven't used Orkut in years. It got overrun very quickly with Brazilians

How does that make it a failure? It's the 10th most popular website in the world, according to Alexa.

My problem with "M$" is that it was never funny, or clever, or anything else. It's the same sort of grating, juvenile shit that various conservative commentators are pulling when they go, "HURF DURF. OBAMA --> OSAMA."

Right, because playing off an offensive racial stereotype is the same as playing off the fact that Microsoft charges a lot of money and people feel like their getting screwed?

It causes me to immediately pigeonhole the speaker in the manner suggested by the Penny Arcade strip I linked.

But if you're so touchy about a company's name, why would I care what you think?
posted by delmoi at 12:57 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Microsoft's letter to Yahoo!

I just received this in my inbox:
IMMEDIATE ATTENTION NEEDED:

HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL

FROM: WILLIAM HENRY GATES III
DEAR SIR / MADAM,

I AM WILLIAM HENRY GATES III, AMERICAN ENTREPRENEUR, SOFTWARE EXECUTIVE, PHILANTHROPIST AND CURRENTLY SERVING AS CHAIRMAN OF SOFTWARE COMPANY MICROSOFT. THIS LETTER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT MET IN PERSON NOR BY CORRESPONDENCE. I CAME TO KNOW OF YOU IN MY SEARCH FOR A RELIABLE AND REPUTABLE PERSON TO HANDLE A VERY CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS TRANSACTION, WHICH INVOLVES THE TRANSFER OF A HUGE SUM OF MONEY TO AN ACCOUNT REQUIRING UTMOST CONFIDENCE.

I AM WRITING YOU IN ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE PRIMARILY TO SEEK YOUR ASSISTANCE IN ACQUIRING THE AMERICAN PUBLIC CORPORATION YAHOO, A GLOBAL INTERNET SERVICES COMPANY. IT PROVIDES A RANGE OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES INCLUDING A WEB PORTAL, A SEARCH ENGINE, YAHOO MAIL, NEWS, AND POSTING. MY PARTNERS AND I SOLICIT YOUR ASSISTANCE IN COMPLETING A TRANSACTION BEGUN BY MY COMPANY, AN AMERICAN MULTINATIONAL COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION WITH 79,000 EMPLOYEES IN 102 COUNTRIES AND GLOBAL ANNUAL REVENUE OF US $51.12 BILLION AS OF 2007.

IN 1996, MY COMPANY, THEN THE PERSONAL COMPUTER MARKET LEADER IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SOUGHT TO WORK WITH THE GOOD OFFICES OF THE SUPREME COURT TO MAINTAIN AND INCREASE REVENUE SOURCES BY FIXING VARIOUS ANTI-TRUST CASES. THE ISSUE IN QUESTION WAS HOW EASY OR HARD IT WAS FOR AMERICA ONLINE USERS TO DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR ONTO A WINDOWS PC. ALTHOUGH WE DID NOT SEE IT AT THE TIME, THIS INSTIGATED THE BEGINNING OF OUR DOWNFALL.

DESPITE THE COURT FINDING THAT THE REVISED PROPOSED FINAL JUDGMENT WAS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, WITHIN TWELVE SHORT YEARS MY COMPANY WAS LEFT FLOUNDERING BY A SERIES OF UNSUCCESSFUL VENTURES: THE FAILURE TO LAUNCH LONGHORN, THE ZUNE, WINDOWS VISTA AND MANY, MANY MORE.

DUE TO SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS DEALINGS THROUGHOUT THE 1990S MY COMPANY IS WORTH FOUR-HUNDRED-AND-ONE BILLION U.S. DOLLARS ($401,000,000,000).

MY BITTEREST ENEMY, GOOGLE, NOW REMAINS IN CONTROL OF THE INTERNET’S LUCRATIVE ADVERTISING BANNER BUSINESS.

MY COMPANY IS CALLING FOR YOUR URGENT ASSISTANCE IN FUNDING THE TAKEOVER OF YAHOO! TO ACQUIRE THE ASSETS OF THE ENTIRE INTERNET COMPANY IN ORDER SO THAT WE MAY REGAIN OUR MARKET LEADING POSITION IN BOTH ADVERTISING AND ONLINE SEARCH.

I WOULD BESEECH YOU TO ALLOW US TO TRANSFER A SUM EQUALLING $44 BILLION TO YOUR ACCOUNT TO AID IN THIS IMPORTANT VENTURE. THE NASDAQ STOCK MARKET OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL FUNCTION AS OUR TRUSTED INTERMEDIARY. I PROPOSE THAT WE MAKE THIS TRANSFER BEFORE MID-2008.

I KNOW THAT A TRANSACTION OF THIS MAGNITUDE WOULD MAKE ANYONE APPREHENSIVE AND WORRIED. BUT I AM ASSURING YOU THAT ALL WILL BE WELL AT THE END OF THE DAY. A BOLD STEP TAKEN SHALL NOT BE REGRETTED, I ASSURE YOU. PLEASE DO BE INFORMED THAT THIS BUSINESS TRANSACTION IS 100% LEGAL. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO CO-OPERATE IN THIS TRANSACTION, PLEASE CONTACT OUR INTERMEDIARY REPRESENTATIVES TO FURTHER DISCUSS THE MATTER.

I PRAY THAT YOU UNDERSTAND OUR PLIGHT. MY COMPANY AND OUR COLLEAGUES WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL. PLEASE REPLY IN STRICT CONFIDENCE TO THE CONTACT NUMBERS BELOW.

SINCERELY WITH WARM REGARDS,

WILLIAM HENRY GATES III
posted by tapeguy at 12:58 PM on February 1, 2008 [10 favorites]


Flickr is not catastophically bad but I think it could be more user-friendly.

I agree.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:19 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


$832k is a bit of a joke as far as campaign contributions go.

And they have the largest PAC in the tech industry. It's taken a while for the techies to understand the need to grease the palms of the politicians.

How does that make it a failure? It's the 10th most popular website in the world, according to Alexa.

But #20 in the UK, #37 in the US, #79 in Canada, #100 in China, unranked in Mexico... and in every case, it's being beaten soundly by Facebook and MySpace. Except Brazil. #1 with a bullet there.

Baidu has been top 20 until recently. #1 in China. Pretty much unknown everywhere else.

Orkut's only a success because it's big in Brazil, a place where they went into conniption fits when Fotolog tried to charge $5/month for their service.

Considering Google's global reach (I mean, good Lord, they're top five in just about every country in the world), Orkut was as close to EPIC FAIL as they've ever gotten.

I just received this in my inbox:

This joke was funny five years ago. Now? Not so much.
posted by dw at 1:23 PM on February 1, 2008


This sounds too much like the AOL/Time Warner merger back in the day. That was supposed to be a big thing and look where it went. Has there ever been a successful merger of large tech companies like this?
posted by Justin Case at 1:33 PM on February 1, 2008


sparkletone, et al.: I was specifically referring to this:

It causes me to immediately pigeonhole the speaker

That's just stupid. If you can understand what they're writing (shorthand for Microsoft), pigeonholing them because of that is just silly. If they're calling Microsoft the devil incarnate, sure, that's not adding to the discussion, but "M$" does not bring down the level of discourse. Refusing to consider someone's opinion because they write that does.
posted by wierdo at 1:51 PM on February 1, 2008


Right, because playing off an offensive racial stereotype is the same as playing off the fact that Microsoft charges a lot of money and people feel like their getting screwed?

With the "Obama --> Osama" thing I was referring to a juvenile tendency to come up with derogatory nicknames and then substitute them in for the real thing whenever you can. Perhaps the race thing makes it a bad example.

Take ANY of the nicknames Rush Limbaugh comes up with for people he disagrees with. Or go trolling through Free Republic threads and pick out all the juvenile nicknames those lovely specimens have come up with (or gotten from Limbaugh, or what have you).

I'm comparing "M$" and "Microshaft" to that. You're not setting yourself apart, or sticking it to "The" "Man" by substituting a dollar sign in for an 's'.

At best, it's just empty noise signifying nothing, and at worse, it makes you look like the sort of basement-dwelling ideologue featured in the aforementioned comic.

I suppose a better example would be if we all started referring to cortex as "corsex" (and eventually, "cor$ex") whenever we had reason to type out his name.
posted by sparkletone at 2:03 PM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


That's just stupid. If you can understand what they're writing (shorthand for Microsoft), pigeonholing them because of that is just silly. If they're calling Microsoft the devil incarnate, sure, that's not adding to the discussion, but "M$" does not bring down the level of discourse. Refusing to consider someone's opinion because they write that does.

It's a childish bitchslap the same way that referring to the "Democrat Party" is. I will still listen to someone who does either that or the old em-dollar-sign, but it immediately puts me in a posture of I-don't-see-why-I'm-bothering, rather than leaving neutral with regards to your other statements.

I think maybe I've over-stated my reaction. It's not as if I immediately hit a big red, "IGNORE" button and stop listening to the person speaking now and forevermore. But I don't see why it's unusual, or bad, that someone is put off by such rhetorical antics.
posted by sparkletone at 2:07 PM on February 1, 2008


Hmm. Eating too much for lunch has left me rather typo-happy this afternoon, it seems. Most of them are obvious, so I'll leave them unmentioned. However, I did mean to write "Demoncrat Party" in my previous comment.

"M$"/"Microshaft" is a rhetorical move on par with referring to the "Demoncrat Party."
posted by sparkletone at 2:13 PM on February 1, 2008


"M$"/"Microshaft" is a rhetorical move on par with referring to the "Demoncrat Party."

Yeah... but it's just a company. Who cares?
posted by delmoi at 2:29 PM on February 1, 2008


Are people still seriously using childish insults like M$?

Bitches don't know about MICROS~1
posted by blasdelf at 2:39 PM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


No one cares, that's why people are arguing about it.
posted by smackfu at 2:40 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah... but it's just a company. Who cares?

Difficult to answer, except in a glib way by flipping it around and saying, "It's just a political party," or, "Corsex is just a mod." Or by flipping it around to ask why anyone still think the practice is demonstrative of anything other than a willingness to type some extra keystrokes.

I'm not sure. I just find it stupid and grating, and wish people would find some new, better way of expressing "LOLMICROSUX AMIRITE?"

All in all, I'd label it a minor annoyance. This is, I think, the most I've ever discussed or thought about it. Usually I just link the appropriate Penny Arcade to express my disapproval and move on because there are more important things in life, right?
posted by sparkletone at 2:42 PM on February 1, 2008


No one cares, that's why people are arguing about it.

Hell. Yes.
posted by sparkletone at 2:43 PM on February 1, 2008


Do they have any competencies that Microsoft doesn't have in-house?

I'm a Yahoo!, and I can say with complete confidence "yes." I can also say that Yahoo! has some other things in-house that one might not call "competencies" that Microsoft might be interested in.

And if I say anything more, I'll probably get fired. So let's stop right there.
posted by davejay at 2:57 PM on February 1, 2008


sparkletone wrote: "M$"/"Microshaft" is a rhetorical move on par with referring to the "Demoncrat Party."

You were right the first time, when you said "Democrat" Party, which is not the name of the political party. (It is the "Democratic" Party, an individual member is a "Democrat"), at least when it comes to "M$" or some other not really insulting way of miswriting "Microsoft."

Now, if you want to conflate all of the actually insulting ways of writing it, perhaps "Microshaft" (or "Microsloth," which used to be my preferred term during the company's nadir, which I argue has passed) would be an appropriate comparison.

Now on topic for once, I think if this goes through, there's a strong chance that the things that I have liked about Yahoo will be going away. As others have mentioned, they have a strong (but not immutable) desire to convert their purchases to use Microsoft products and technologies rather than the open standards they were previously using.

And they deleted my Hotmail account when they bought it. Monopolistic bastards.
posted by wierdo at 3:02 PM on February 1, 2008


You were right the first time, when you said "Democrat" Party, which is not the name of the political party.

True, but it was not what I intended to type. My choice of the term "bitchslap" actually comes from some old TPM post or other that first made me aware of the slight.

Now on topic for once, I think if this goes through, there's a strong chance that the things that I have liked about Yahoo will be going away. As others have mentioned, they have a strong (but not immutable) desire to convert their purchases to use Microsoft products and technologies rather than the open standards they were previously using.

A lot of people I've talked to today feel this way. I have a seldom-used Flickr account, and theoretically still have a del.icio.us account, which I've not touched in months. So I'm not terribly affected.

But as far as I know, Yahoo!'s stuff is primarily built on PHP, Linux servers, etc, etc. ie: Non-Microsoft tech., and if there's one thing MS refuses to do, it's run their stuff on anyone else's shit. Cf: Hotmail's migration from Apache, et al., over to Microsoft technologies after it was acquired, which was quite painful.

Maybe they'll know better and leave them alone, but I'm not holding out hope, if the sale goes through (and at this point I don't see why it wouldn't).
posted by sparkletone at 3:10 PM on February 1, 2008


"Corsex is just a mod."

**Rushes to register "Corsex" as a sockpuppet account.**
posted by spock at 3:10 PM on February 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've noted Yahoo's search function does find things Google's search doesn't pick up and I don't understand why.

I get to see some of the people in charge of Y! Search in action, and I have to say: the "why" (to me) seems to be that these people care an insane amount about search, like, almost to an unhealthy degree. If I could have my pick of people to work with at Y!, it would be in search.
posted by davejay at 3:20 PM on February 1, 2008


Now on topic for once, I think if this goes through, there's a strong chance that the things that I have liked about Yahoo will be going away.

I'm so very much hoping you're wrong. Hell, if you're right, I might be going away from Y! too.
posted by davejay at 3:37 PM on February 1, 2008


Damnit I was hoping Google would buy Yahoo.

Google's koolaid tastes better.

Maybe I'll hold off on renewing my Flickr pro account for a while...
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:02 PM on February 1, 2008


I'm so very much hoping you're wrong. Hell, if you're right, I might be going away from Y! too.

There is a very loud, very sweaty man within spitting distance from my office window. I work very hard in a high stress position at a for profit, and he is really ruining my job satisfaction. The cops won't do anything, I've tried. I don't get paid much, so I can't afford to bribe him. I have tried listening to music through headphones to drown him out but that's almost as distracting.

(with apologies to the original AskMe question)
posted by Gary at 4:04 PM on February 1, 2008


I'm a Yahoo!, and I can say with complete confidence "yes."

I'm not a Yahoo! and have never held a blue or orange card with the Evil Empire, but I can say "yes" with complete confidence as well.

Yahoo was born and raised on the web; it understands the web. Microsoft was an OS company first; it does not understand the web. In fact, MSFT is very much lacking in web creativity.

It's always weird to look on the MSFT job site and see that for all the skills I have from being a higher ed web geek for years, very little of it translates to a position at MSFT. The closest I can get is as a web producer, but they really want people with writing/editing experience doing that, not a coder/designer/cat herder.

OTOH, I do find jobs that fit my skillset with YHOO. It's just they're all in Silicon Valley. And I don't want to relocate, because I like Seattle and like having a 3BR apartment for under $1500/month.

Yahoo has a ton of competencies that MSFT has no clue about. The big question is whether the two corporate cultures will be able to mesh without MSFT running over the open-source, standards-driven lean of YHOO. If they can find harmony, MSFT will finally be a realistic player again Google in the online world. If not, then MSFT will suffer greatly and be driven tail between its legs back to creating OSes first.
posted by dw at 4:12 PM on February 1, 2008


Damnit I was hoping Google would buy Yahoo.

Google's koolaid tastes better.


For the sake of a Friday afternoon Godwin:

That's like someone in Poland saying he wished the USSR had invaded first, not Germany.
posted by dw at 4:15 PM on February 1, 2008


$44.6 Billion!? That's insane. Jesus Christ, that's just fucking nuts.

If they decline the offer, in five years you're going to see a rash of former Yahoo!-ers jumping off bridges. I'm calling it right now. Jumping off of bridges. Because, quite simply, no way are you ever going to do better than that. And if you turn that kind of stupid-money down, you will regret it after you have fallen into the dustbin of Web History. $44,600,000,000.00 fucking dollars and you can start up a thousand Yahoo's tomorrow, with enough operating costs to keep you afloat for ten years. Jesus.

And Microsoft, what the fuck? Did the secretary accidentally tack on a couple extra zeros or something?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:26 PM on February 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


I miss the days when a post like this would be answered by variation of AYBABTU with a borg Gates as Cats, instead of a kitten saying "I CAN HAS YAHOOS?"
posted by furtive at 7:38 PM on February 1, 2008


I don't.
posted by bonaldi at 8:17 PM on February 1, 2008


> I'll say one thing in favor of Yahoo: Yahoo Groups. If you want intra-group communication in email form with the option of scheduling events and uploading files and what not, Yahoo Groups is basically the only game in town.

Yahoogroups is good and is one of the few surviving such services. But there are others. Jiglu has its spaces, which offer much the same functionality with a much less cluttered interface. And some nice knowledge management touches.
posted by bobbyelliott at 2:19 AM on February 2, 2008


Shit. That link should be www.jigluhood.com.
posted by bobbyelliott at 2:20 AM on February 2, 2008


what, beyond the brand name, can Yahoo offer Microsoft? Do they have any competencies that Microsoft doesn't have in-house?

Probably said earlier in this thread, but Yahoo's search capability is loads better than "Windows Live Search."

But both companies have terrible online user interfaces. I can't understand how any adult can use an email account with the word 'yahoo' in it. And the intrusive banner ads in Hotmail and Yahoo mail are atrocious. The "Windows Live" space is just confusing...if Microsoft could develop a better email client at the end of this merger, it might make me want to go over, but for the time being I'm going to stick with Google and all of its half-baked, half-assed, yet weirdly superior products.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:39 AM on February 2, 2008


$44.6 Billion!? That's insane. Jesus Christ, that's just fucking nuts.

It's probably going to be done mostly by exchanging Yahoo shares for new Microsoft shares. The end result is that Yahoo's shareholders end up owning 14% of the combined company. Assuming MSFT's share price doesn't plummet after the merger from Yahoo's shareholder's cashing out, they'll have acquired Yahoo essentially for free.
posted by cillit bang at 9:17 AM on February 2, 2008


Newsweek: Is Yahoo Worth $44.6 billion?
posted by ericb at 9:54 AM on February 2, 2008


It's probably going to be done mostly by exchanging Yahoo shares for new Microsoft shares ... they'll have acquired Yahoo essentially for free.

Microsoft has said they're going to offer cash or stock. And there's enough anti-MSFT attitude in the YHOO stockholders that I really doubt everyone will take MSFT stock.

I expect most of the big funds will take the shares, though. No matter what, MSFT has said they will need no financing to complete the deal. That's just extraordinary.

Word on the street was also that a bunch of private equity types were looking to do an LBO and dismantle the company, selling off Flickr/Delicious/Upcoming and making a ton. All things considered, Yahoo is probably better off as part of Microsoft than in the hands of these private equity firms.
posted by dw at 10:52 PM on February 2, 2008


Android is open source, Google is just giving it to handset makers for them to support open systems. It doesn't need to be that great. It's supposed to be the Linux of handsets

There already is a Linux for handsets. It's been around for years. It's called "Linux".

Their terrible websites aside, both MS and Yahoo actually currently have, and have had, mobile phone applications way ahead of anything Google has managed to ship. Yahoo to Go with the new carousel interface is a very slick way of integrating mail, news, sport, and flickr. And the new MS Live for the phones is impressive. Live Maps makes even the native Google Maps applcations seem like an early beta, or a technology demo... nice maps, traffic, smooth scrolling but, really, os that it? The goal-based localised location lookup works amazingly well. On a phone, in the time it takes you to start Google Maps, lookup the address of a local retailer, input it in to Map direction finder, and wait for it to update, Live Maps has already got the route drawn, along with a list of similar, competing stores, and ranked them by distance for you, and it probably finished a minute or two earlier.
posted by meehawl at 11:55 PM on February 2, 2008


Assuming MSFT's share price doesn't plummet after the merger from Yahoo's shareholder's cashing out, they'll have acquired Yahoo essentially for free.

True, but would you really expect a merger to cost anything to the eventual combined company? It's a zero-sum game, unless you actually take money out. (Ignoring the actual physical costs of a merger here, like rebranding.)
posted by smackfu at 7:49 AM on February 3, 2008


So apparently NewsCorp is bidding too.

They've already got MySpace, and now they're trying to scoop up Yahoo and its subsidiaries like so much used kitty litter. Is there any hideous internet abomination Rupert Murdoch won't pay billions of dollars for? Whoever owns GeoCities and Tripod must be crapping themselves in anticipation.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:19 PM on February 3, 2008


Whoever owns GeoCities and Tripod must be crapping themselves in anticipation.

Heh.
posted by dw at 4:32 PM on February 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Ha!
posted by Sys Rq at 5:23 PM on February 3, 2008


Yahoo rejects offer.
posted by delmoi at 10:35 AM on February 11, 2008


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