Friday, February 01, 2008

Two wrongs = one right?

The news exists everywhere: Microsoft offered forty four billion dollars to buy Yahoo. (Billion, with a "B!")

To me, it is an act of desperation. A preemptive grasp at straws. Both companies have been losing value in recent years. (Check the graphs: MSFT / YHOO!) And they have been losing market share quarter after quarter.

The entire move is aimed to combat their mutual enemy: TEH GOOG! Two fatally wounded dinosaurs crawling together to seek shelter amid the falling debris and smoldering remains of their own private asteroid strike. And that red-hot rock that has slammed into them shows no sign of cooling. Google has 13 straight quarters of record growth.

I went through a similar merger in 2000, with MindSpring and EarthLink. We created a $3B company, with 6000 employees. Today, the company is worth about a quarter of its former value and has shrunk to less than 600 employees.

I see MicroHoo following the same slow, painful creep into oblivion. Microsoft will shed it's "search-related" staff. Yahoo will shed its "everything-except-search" staff. They'll consolidate data centers (more losses.) They'll combine their "brands." Their cultures will clash. Their management will go to war. Neither company can compete on their own, so they're going to go down together.

And in the end, they'll have gained no ground. Billions will have been wasted. And Google will preside over their corpses.

I, for one, welcome our new pixelated overlords!
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