Some facts are so obvious that it's difficult to understand how anyone could be so stubborn as to resist them. For example, there's the case of the world's best portal page (that would be Yahoo, not Google), its on-again-off-again ad algorithm (Yahoo, again), a gloating former Novell exec (you know who) and an about-to-be-former Yahoo exec.
Since some other columns lifted my Mr. Potter analogy (including a suspiciously similar piece of Potter prose in All Things Duh), I might as well stretch it a bit further to note that Mr. Potter, er, Google probably never intended to do the deal with Yahoo. I mean, who could be so daft as to fail to realize that there was no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that the antitrust folks were going to let it sail past? All the hand wringing about government interference on the part of Google seems, well, less than sincere. After all, how can the company go running to Congress whining about how the big, bad cable and wire companies are trying to kill the Internet (true, absolutely true), and then turn around and start choking the life out of said Internet by monopolizing the World Wide Web's main revenue stream (without providing any customer support, I might add). So Mr. Potter, I mean, Eric's ploy seems simple: Dangle the money in front of Yahoo's CEO just long enough to kill the Microsoft deal (or at least delay it), and then when the antitrust issue comes up say, gee, how terrible it is we can't make this deal work. Sorry.
Of course, this may have backfired because what Google actually has done is saved Microsoft billions of dollars. But wait! Enter stage right, the Steverino. Now he's being the petulant child and claiming he has no interest in purchasing Yahoo. (Uh, but just the other day Bill said…oh, never mind.) Right. Maybe they'll buy that line down under in Sydney, but no one in New York is going to believe you for a second. Do a deal around "search"? Who's Steve trying to kid? It's all about tapping the advertising market, duh. If you want search, go to Dogpile.
My suggestion: if they don't want to look as, er, dumb, clueless, venal, or stubborn as the other guys, Microsoft should jump in and buy Yahoo at a deep disount. It's a simple matter of technology and business (and despite some Silicon Valley aspirations, it isn't even rocket science). Then you can get on with building the transition team, hire Powell and Rubin…oops, wrong company..hire some of those former Google execs floating around, and then maybe, just maybe Microhoo will still have time to figure out this whole silly Mad Ave advertising thing before Google owns the whole planet.
(Full disclosure: No, I do not own any Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo stock. Although it's true that Yahoo's stock is so broken down that now even a poor journalist like myself could afford to buy some.)