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Is Microsoft Really Trying To Buy Yahoo?

Yesterday the New York Post shocked the blogosphere by reporting that Microsoft was in talks to buy Yahoo. Within minutes of the report bloggers were firing away on the topic. And then the Wall Street Journal stepped up as the "official" voice and claimed that the Post's report was without justification. So is Microsoft going to buy Yahoo or not?
Yesterday the New York Post shocked the blogosphere by reporting that Microsoft was in talks to buy Yahoo. Within minutes of the report bloggers were firing away on the topic. And then the Wall Street Journal stepped up as the "official" voice and claimed that the Post's report was without justification. So is Microsoft going to buy Yahoo or not?It's hard to say. Here is the Journal's take:


Microsoft and Yahoo discussed a possible merger or other matchup that would pair their respective strengths, say people familiar with the situation. The merger discussions are no longer active, these people say, but that doesn't preclude the two companies from some other form of cooperation.

Donna Bogatin nails it, claiming that this is nothing more than just a battle of unnamed sources:


But, what is the real story, really?

Do the WSJ's unnamed sources really trump the NY Post's unnamed sources? So suggests popular blogosphere consensus.

Some are even calling for the NY Post's head!

Briar Dudley, blogger for The Seattle Times, claims the Post owes all of us an apology:


I don't mean to bash the Post's reporting. It's obviously got more sources on Wall Street than I do, and it's been right several times with "talks pending" stories involving Microsoft, Google, AOL and eBay.

But now we're all waiting for the follow-up. Until then, it's ammunition for the old-media bashers who say we never get anything right.

In the meantime, it's fun to speculate on all the reasons why Microsoft should or shouldn't hook up with Yahoo!

Speaking of speculation on why Microsoft shouldn't buy Yahoo, check out my colleague Paul McDougall's piece, and Alex Wolfe's list of mergers he'd like to see.

But back to the matter at hand. How do we know that the Journal's unnamed sources are any better than the Post's? The simple answer is that we don't.

Many bloggers ironically use these kinds of instances to poke fingers at the old media for being "out of it." But is that really the issue? When you investigate rumors, the chances are the reporter or blogger will dig up lots of stuff that may not come to pass. That doesn't make it any less true, that's just the nature of reporting deals in progress. One or both parties often walk away just moments before any deal is signed. Are we all better off not knowing anything about these potential deals? Or are we better served by knowing all the deal rumors, even those that never pan out?

What do you think? Do you want to know about deal rumors? Was the New York Post wrong to report this rumor?