Microsoft has been after Yahoo for a while now, but this week the folks in Redmond made it official: They really, really like Yahoo. But do we really, really like the idea of a $44.6 billion purchase?
For tech veterans, the knee-jerk reaction would be to scream antitrust (remember when Microsoft was about to be broken up, and for good reason, until that journalist went and blabbed). However, if one is concerned about privacy issues, unfettered use of personal data, and an almost complete lack of price competition in the online marketplace, Google is more of threat these days than Microsoft. Just take a look at how Google manages Adsense–or rather doesn't manage it.
A Microsoft-Yahoo merger (er, I mean purchase) would provide some much needed competition for Google. While Google is innovative, it can also be flaky and tends to lack focus (notice how Google Earth, a great idea, crashes systems at the click of a mouse). On the other hand, Microsoft is steady, but it's never been that innovative (e.g., Web-based mail, custom online databases, online blogging software, online mapping software, heck, even its Web browser have all been me-too products). So competition from a Microhoo could force Google to focus and deliver better hands-on service to customers. It might even relieve fears that the online ad world will become a monopoly. And who knows? Microhoo could become a more innovative force in the online world.
Bottom line: "Woo-hoo!, It's a great idea."
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