Yahoo Board to Meet on Microhoo?!?!

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-02-08 Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Yahoo's board is allegedly meeting today to discuss Microsoft's 44.6 billion proposal to buy it out and save it from a slow, painful death, according to Michael Arrington on Techcrunch.

This of course comes a day after the House Judiciary Committee cancelled a hearing on the privacy and antitrust implications of the deal.

My colleague Roy Mark was told scheduling conflicts were the cause for the kibosh on the meeting but I wonder. Did Yahoo call Congress and tell them they were meeting, causing the politicos to take the No. 5 train to WaitandSeeville?

A fair question and one I don't have an answer for. I have not been able to get anyone from Yahoo via e-mail or the phone all week, and that goes for today's request for confirmation of the alleged board meeting.

Because Yahoo has ignored my requests, I've been trying to go around the gatekeepers, so to speak. I've been trying talk to Yahoo board members by calling the companies they represent to make their living, but their PR and HR handlers have been telling me that not only will the board members not speak to me about the deal, but they "will not" ask them for me.

It's like a dirty secret or something. Anyway, if anyone has phone numbers of Yahoo's board members, send them over. Just kidding! Or am I?

This leads us to here and now … one week -- and a blazingly fast one at that -- after Microsoft slapped its generous, 62 percent premium on the table for Yahoos to blanch look at.

Arrington believes Yahoo only has two roads to go after potential bidders gave Yahoo the middle finger: Accept the offer and try to increase the price with no negotiating leverage, or strike a deal with Google to outsource search advertising and even search itself.

Jeez, both possibilities are great aren't they? Capitulate, but try to draw a little more succor from a competitor, or ask for a life preserver from the biggest ship in the sea. I'm sure a deal is in shareholders' best interests, which is why I think it will get done.

Despite this, I don't like it all; it disrupts the three-horse race of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft in search and ads. I would much rather prefer to see Yahoo rekindle its fire, and I think its mobile developer platform and social networking-meets-Web mail announcements at CES are promising, and I prefer to see Yahoo bring those to fruition.

On the Microsoft side, I happen to feel the software giant is trying to buy its way into the next big thing: the Internet services market. By being a seminal player in 1975, Microsoft was able to groom the Windows operating system to its 90 percent-plus market share.

Now it's 2008 and Microsoft realizes that -- waaaiiiiitttt a minute, uh oh -- Google has the pole position spot in the Web services race. Because of this, Microsoft is trying to buy its way in to the market. This is not the traditional Microsoft way.

Now Redmond reeks of sweat and fear. If Microsoft fails, expect Google to define the new operating system on the Web in 10 years.

Speaking of sweat and fear, neither AOL nor Ask.com, the two biggest search vendors after Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, will return my requests for comment about a possible Microhoo deal. Instead, we must rely on passing statements from Time Warner CEO and IAC CEO Barry Diller that Microhoo would boosts the value of AOL and Ask.com. 

Whatever. Ask.com is still figuring out what its new CEO will do to increase search share, and AOL is still trying to create separation between its Web access business and its Web portal and ad business. 

These vendors are as likely to get taken out as Yahoo by a Google or a News Corp. If Microhoo goes through, expect more dominoes to fall as the Internet sector does the consolidation tango.

 
 
 
 
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