"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Monday, May 5, 2008

In lieu of my brilliant treatise on oil dependence

I took some notes earlier today on a post I wanted to write tonight regarding OIL..... It would have been very exciting (not really), but now I find I just don't have the energy to address the issue. It's after midnight, and I've had a long, busy day.

I already wrote my weekly newspaper column (titled "Web Spin", published in The Sidney Daily News, Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call, and covering anything remotely Internet related) tonight, so I'm sharing it with links to the papers.

Microsoft drops takeover bid
The biggest Internet news this week – as of the time of this writing, anyway – is the apparent end of Microsoft’s bid to buy Yahoo.
While Microsoft had increased its offer to buy Yahoo at $33 per share (approximately $47.5 billion), Yahoo’s management held firm at a price of $37 per share.
Yahoo execs are calling Microsoft’s retreat a win for the Internet company, which is now back in the same place it was before the offer –facing falling stock prices and waning relevancy in its own market niche.
During the course of this volley between Yahoo and Microsoft, Yahoo sent Gates and company into a tizzy by initiating a supposed short-term experiment of including Google AdSense advertising with about 3 percent of its search results. Yahoo claimed it was a value-added service for the customers (and a way to nudge up Microsoft’s offer), but I tend to believe that it was a hope to boost profits for Yahoo as well. Microsoft recovered from its apoplexy just long enough to issue a statement warning that it was just the first step toward an eventual Google/Yahoo monopoly and a crushing blow to Internet freedom.
With the withdrawal of Microsoft’s offer and the continuation of Yahoo’s issues as before, many of Yahoo’s shareholders are left with some decisions to make. Those who had been hanging on hoping for a merger – and jump in the stock value – are questioning the business savvy of Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang. Yang was a Yahoo founder, and some suspect, too emotionally attached to the company to have made his decisions in this negotiation in the best interest of the stockholders.
Some analysts are looking for Yahoo’s stock price to spiral downward as stockholders sell off their shares, giving up on the company after staking its salvation on a Microsoft bailout.
Others, however, are looking into the possibility that Microsoft’s paranoia might have had some basis in reality after all – they’re looking at the possibility of a Yahoo/Google partnership. Talks between the two companies are said to be active working toward some kind of a deal.
Yahoo execs previously denied that the short-term AdSense experiment in any way indicated a potential partnership between the two historically rival companies. Microsoft certainly fought any sort of partnership between the two Internet search titans, even going so far as to argue to Yahoo that such a partnership would eventually lead to Yahoo’s total collapse – and Google’s total world domination.
Yahoo and Google continue to contend that any partnership between them will be limited in nature, with Google providing AdSense advertising only for searches that earn a significantly smaller return for Yahoo that Google. Such a limited partnership would maintain the integrity of Yahoo’s proprietary search service and would not result in the search monopoly warned of by Microsoft.
So what happens now? Will Microsoft really give up its attempt to take over Yahoo, or is this just a strategic retreat to observe the developments with Google? Failure of Yahoo to resolve its issues could mean that Microsoft can just sit back and wait for the Internet company to flounder right into its gaping maw.

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