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Microhoo: It's Over?

And what happens to 'Hoo'?

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Quick: name the half dozen or so companies you think are screwing up the web more than all the rest. Are your choices amongst the following?

  • Microsoft. The ultimate predators. Responsible for most of the spam and malware infecting the Internet today. Also home of Steve 'Fat Monkey on Crack' Ballmer, one of the most despised CEOs in the business.
  • Yahoo. They sell their former countrymen down the river. Yahoo were for a long time the first and only Internet company actually in the black. Opinion turned against them when it was found out cofounder Jerry Yang gleefully worked with the Chinese government to put away dissidents.
  • AOL. The ultimate doofus company run by and for doofuses. Having an AOL account is today tantamount to wearing a sign on one's forehead saying 'IDIOT'.
  • Facebook. Sign up and sell your privacy and identity down the river. The Facebook people have painted a consistent picture of their regard for personal privacy and integrity: they don't give a shit.
  • MySpace. If the Internet has a virtual trailer park this is it. MySpace is the ultimate black hole of Internet stupidity and stupidity in general. It's also owned by internationally notorious scoundrel Rupert Murdoch.
  • Google. Google are the new Microsoft. But they're also sillier and stupider and way more reckless.

Were your picks the same as the above? If so there's good news: they're still battling and conniving to make your life worse.

Suitor Leaves Field?

Steve Ballmer was trying for the longest time to devour Yahoo. Microsoft have been trumped by Google for years. If only Microsoft could get a competing search technology - they tried using their own but in typical Microsoft fashion fell flat on their faces. But Yahoo are good, aren't they? So knock on their door like a field marshall and tell them you're moving in.

But Yahoo and Jerry Yang played hard to get. Passive resistance. Ballmer hung around outside and tried various tricks to get them to cooperate. But no. And so at last Ballmer announced Microsoft would be withdrawing their hostile takeover bid.

And that means it's all over - right? Wrong.

The Yahoo Dive

Since word of Ballmer's withdrawal hit Wall Street Yahoo stock has plummeted. On the very day of the announcement Yahoo tanked for 20% or $1.5 billion. That's a sizeable chunk of change and stockholders aren't happy campers - already there are seven lawsuits filed against management and there are going to be more. That $33 Baller was offering was 70% more than the stock was at before the bid came in and now things are going back down again.

Could Steve Ballmer be more clever than he looks and acts? Could he be trying to make Jerry Yang sweat a bit first? Yahoo don't have any other suitors; they have angry shareholders; maybe Ballmer is trying to force an even cheaper bid on them?

For Steve Ballmer it's a setback too. As in losing whatever prestige he still has. Ballmer's been acting first aggressive and tough, then calm and indifferent; first making it clear he's going to devour Yahoo and that's that - and then acting like he doesn't really care what happens. Someone's going to call him on it.

Meanwhile Jerry Yang has tried to paint the takeover attempt as a 'distraction' and that Yahoo can now get back to business. But with Microsoft out of the picture and Google clobbering everyone in sight there's little business to go back to.

  • Dance with AOL? A possibility. But it changes little outside the US where the real money is.
  • Dance with Google? Oh yeah - and the US DoJ love it. Yahoogle would be the mother of all monopolies.
  • Then how about Rupert? Some people say he's checking Yahoo out. Yahoo and MySpace together: MySpace today supersede a lot of what made Yahoo a success - ten years ago. Give Rupert a sizeable chunk of stock and maybe he'd dance? Yes maybe he would.

One thing's certain: whatever these clumsy giants decide on it's not going to be in your best interests.

See Also
The Technological: Four Words for Steve
Radsoft News: Yahoo - From Four11 To Absolute Zero
Rixstep Industry Watch: M$ Trying Hostile Takeover of Yahoo!

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