CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,

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Article: Microsoft and Yahoo Need Each Other

I really enjoy reading what Lance Ulanoff (of PCMag.Com) has to say about things. The man is savvy and occasionally tongue-in-cheek and doesn't seem to take himself too seriously -- all good things in my book.

I'm still fascinated by the idea that 'giants' Microsoft and Yahoo might 'hook up' -- so I can't help sharing this recent info...

Microsoft and Yahoo Need Each Other
(from PCMag.Com)
May 4, 2007
by Lance Ulanoff

How does Microsoft solve the problem of online? By buying a company that had the Web figured out when the Redmond software giant was still focused on the desktop.

When I first heard the Microsoft/Yahoo acquisition rumors in January, I dismissed them as nonsense, assuming that it started with the Peanut Butter Memo and snowballed with the recent major corporate shuffles at Yahoo. For as much as the New York Times and other media outlets talked about it five months ago, few, including me, took it too seriously. Now everyone is, and, perhaps more ominously, the principals are not talking.

There are many reasons for Microsoft to fly solo:

  • Microsoft's powerful stable of online services (mail and search, mapping)
  • It's 70,000 employees, all ready to make the next big thing
  • A profitable client software and operating system business

    Yahoo has good reason, too, to go it alone:

  • It's still powerful in the search market
  • The company has finally found its footing in the online service space and has produced an award winning e-mail client, and local and online photo services.

    Likewise both companies have made huge strides in mobile services.

    Yet there is one compelling reason for them to join forces:

  • Google

    Everyone knows that Google is winning the search war, but it's Google's recent moves in the ad space (eating up DoubleClick), online video (the YouTube acquisition), and online applications that have Microsoft more worried. Microsoft has poured money and time into its "Live" services, but can't seem to interest anyone in them (recent corporate shuffling in that group indicates some dissatisfaction with the strategy on Microsoft's part, as well).

    Yahoo is an impressive company that's produced some of the best online services of the past two years, yet no one really cares.

    When Google burps, people listen and then flock to its services.

    Google's Gmail is a frustrating online mail application, at best, but it continues to grow—-Yahoo and Microsoft's recent updates are better by a wide margin. The Mountain View, CA's online applications are nowhere near as powerful as anything Microsoft produces, yet Google's Web Application suite is as closely watched as Microsoft's protracted development and release of the Windows Vista operating system.

    Recently Google wrested the title of "Most Powerful Global Brand" from Microsoft. That was likely the straw that broke Bill Gates' back. Microsoft knows it needs to do something to stay in the game and remain relevant to global consumers and businesses.

    I'm not saying that Microsoft is in any actual danger here (Yahoo could be another story), but losing a grip on mindshare can ultimately have just as devastating an effect as seeing profits tumble. And mark my works, as Google cruises along and Microsoft and Yahoo are viewed more and more as second-tier companies, bad things will start to happen to both.

    This acquisition, if it ever happens, will put more eyes back on Microsoft and Yahoo (this is already happening). Everyone will wonder, "What does this mean?," "What will Microsoft/Yahoo look like?," "What kinds of products and services will they produce?," "Which online properties will live and die?"

    All valid questions and none that would be answered anytime soon. And while the world watches, Microsoft will refortify itself—-quite possibly with a big dose of Yahoo—-for its next major assault on the Google juggernaut.

    And here's the link to the online version: HERE

    If you know me at all, you know I'm not a fan of Microsoft (a big understatement). Yes, I certainly use Microsoft products (as if I have a choice not to) -- but that doesn't mean I have to like the company, thankfully. It's interesting that in the past year my discussions with people who use to be really pro-Microsoft have taken a decidedly different turn, by the way. I'm hearing a lot more people blast Microsoft for many of their new practices...

    I used to be mad for Yahoo and really active at Yahoo Groups, but I've certainly lost that enthusiasm over the past year or so. I don't see why they can't get their act together with the technology, frankly. Yahoo Groups are a bigger pain to use than ever, rather than improved. (sigh) I can barely stand to even do limited moderation duties now and again. I simply don't have the patience for it (especially when I'm really busy)...

    Good luck Microsoft and/or Yahoo in 'assaulting' Google, by the way. No, I'm not a fan of Google mail. I actually have a paid Yahoo mail account and love Yahoo mail. (The notepad alone is worth the price of the paid account, by the way.) But when it comes to searching, I rarely ever use anything but Google! Seriously.

    And for online videos, I'm all over YouTube.

    I'm not a person who doesn't try other things, mind you, when I have the time. I frequently do try a variety of services. Hell, that's how I find the things I really like! Let's just say that when I recommend a software or site, I do so after a lot of 'trial and error' experimentation. I take those things very seriously.

    By the way, I recommend LiveJournal to others all the time.

    I've used Blogger and various LJ 'clones' and a number of other online blogging services over the years. For the work blog that I'm doing, I'm using Moveable Type (ugh) as the method of posting (not a fan), just for the record. I've seen a lot of poor or bad blog services -- and I've been here at LJ since 2002. LiveJournal beats the others hands down.

    I suppose the fact that I have a paid account -- and want to get a permanent one -- speaks volumes. (grin) I don't put money into any online service unless I'm convinced and feel it's worthwhile.

    Well, I need to get back to work on the PowerPoint presentation for the Spring Board Meeting tonight... So enough about all this (for now).
  • Tags: 2007, article, lance-ulanoff, may-2007

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