What's Microsoft Really Buying With Yahoo? - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
2/4/2008
10:11 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

What's Microsoft Really Buying With Yahoo?

It's a tough question, isn't it?  Is Microsoft buying Yahoo because of its long-term and broadscale expertise with open source?  If so, to what end?  Well, I thought, maybe what they're really buying is the expertise of the Yahoo programming team, akin to what I felt was happening with Sun and MySQL, et al.  Unfortunately, the theory doesn't seem to work here.

It's a tough question, isn't it?  Is Microsoft buying Yahoo because of its long-term and broadscale expertise with open source?  If so, to what end?  Well, I thought, maybe what they're really buying is the expertise of the Yahoo programming team, akin to what I felt was happening with Sun and MySQL, et al.  Unfortunately, the theory doesn't seem to work here.

Microsoft's current stance on open source is, from what I can tell, to provide a compelling case to run open source packages on Windows -- that is, as long as we're leaving the Linux patent issue entirely out of the picture.  How they feel about open source on something the size and scope of Yahoo isn't clear at all -- and maybe that's why they want some existing experts in that field.

Perhaps what they're looking for are teams from Yahoo's side that they can put to work creating online applications -- to gussy up Windows Live, maybe, which as Paul McDougall pointed out, is horribly confused and confusing.  The incoherence of Windows Live is about as bad as the incoherence that swarmed around .Net when Microsoft unleashed that way back when.  So, perhaps the thinking goes, why not bring in people who seem to be natural experts at this sort of thing?

The problem, again, is one of clashing corporate cultures: Microsoft and Yahoo do not look, act, or think remotely alike.  This is a far deeper problem than I think Microsoft is willing to admit, retention incentives aside.  if Microsoft is doing this to get their hands on experts, there's nothing that says the very people they want most are not going to jump ship and head somewhere friendlier.

Perhaps Microsoft will jettison its existing online unit wholesale and simply swap Yahoo in for that -- well, maybe not all at once, but over enough time to allow some kind of transition from Microsoft's services to Yahoo's.  And again, therein would lie a huge and painful transition that would probably create as many problems as it solves.

Maybe the best way to approach this is just to leave the question open: What is Microsoft really buying?  The more I think about it, the more I'm wondering if even Microsoft knows by now.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll