Microsoft And Yahoo: What's In It For You?
In this morning's column, I try to see what individual Web users--not advertisers, not other Internet companies, not the stock market--might get out of a Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo.
After taking some time to survey each company's Web sites and services, I found some individual things to like--for instance, Microsoft's Live Search Maps and Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing site--but not much to give me confidence that a combined company would quickly build on those strengths. These companies have had enough trouble developing their existing Web properties, and the massive organizational turmoil following a corporate takeover would not help matters.
There's another point that, in retrospect, I should have made: One of the worst aspects of Microsoft's Web strategy has been its inability to pick a name and stick with it. We've gone from MSN to .Net to Live to Windows Live--and I may have missed one or two rebrandings in that list. Presumably, Microsoft would have to toss yet another moniker to adopt Yahoo's name for its online properties... unless it somehow labors under the delusion that MSNdotNetWindowsLive has more "brand equity" than Yahoo.
Now, I'd like to give you all a chance to repeat my research. Take a look at Microsoft and Yahoo's offerings in Web search, Web-mail and instant messaging, then tell me which one you prefer in the comments. For extra credit, suggest which features of one company's site or service you'd like to add to the other's.
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