Microsoft-Yahoo Is a Developer, Services Boost

Everyone's talking about the online advertising business, but the developer and services action Microsoft picks up from Yahoo could be the real story.

The talk around Microsoft's $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo is centered on the online advertising play, but the software giant stands to gain other assets, including developer support, that may end up being the bigger story.

When it comes to supporting developers, Microsoft is often viewed as second to none. Yet, should this deal go through, Microsoft would inherit a solid team of developers versed in creating online services, as well as a set of open Web services APIs that the Redmond, Wash., software big shot would welcome, given its own nascent offerings in the online services world.

Yahoo has a potent developer network of its own, the Yahoo Developer Network, which hosts a multitude of Web services as a way for application developers to access content and services to build new applications. Yahoo Web Services are for developers, businesses and researchers interested in using Yahoo products, services, data and content as a resource in their applications. The APIs are open and the program is free.

Yahoo has specific developer centers focusing on Java, JavaScript, Flash, ColdFusion, .Net, PHP, Python and Ruby. And in an Evans Data Corp. survey last year about developer relations programs, Yahoo fared rather well for its services offerings.

The Yahoo developer network gives developers advice on building mashups, using and creating Yahoo Widgets and a lot more.

In a letter to the Yahoo board of directors, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said: "Our combined ability to focus engineering resources that drive innovation in emerging scenarios such as video, mobile services, online commerce, social media, and social platforms is greatly enhanced."

Moreover, on a call with analysts, Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, said: "Our lives, our businesses and even our society have been progressively transformed by the Web, and Yahoo has played a pioneering role by building compelling, high-scale services and infrastructure."

Most recently, on Jan. 30, Yahoo announced the public beta of its OpenID service.

"With the public beta release of the Yahoo! OpenID Provider service users with a Yahoo! account -- all 248 million of them -- can sign in to any Web site that supports OpenID 2.0, the latest version of the OpenID specification," Yahoo officials said.