Maggie Shiels

Hey Microsoft, Yahoo thinks you should buy it

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 6 Nov 08, 10:40 GMT

Jerry Yang's comments at the Web 2.0 Summit that: "The best thing for Microsoft to do is buy Yahoo" might have sounded desperate to some especially coming just hours after Google nixed a search advertising deal with the internet portal.

Yahoo logoMr Yang was also somewhat put out by Google's decision to walk away from the agreement because the heat coming from Washington was too much.

Though it did look like the Department of Justice was going to pursue an anti-trust suit over the search advertising deal that would have given both companies control over most of the market.

Still seemingly stinging from Google dumping Yahoo before it could dump Google, Mr Yang told a packed crowd that he was: "Disappointed they (Google) didn't want to defend it."

The decision at the end of the day didn't harm Yahoo's share price which rose 4% as a result to $13.92.

Jerry YangPerhaps it was that share price that prompted some mischief from Mr Yang when he put it out there that: "We're willing to sell the company."

That is of course at the right price. And no one knows what that is, except of course Mr Yang and he wasn't giving anything away on that front. But many shareholders will no doubt have some thoughts on that given that Microsoft offered $33 a share for the company back in May before negotiations went south along with their investment.

Microsoft is not responding to Mr Yang's advances though, with the billions in cash it has in the bank, it could surely get Yahoo for something of a knock down price compared to what it was prepared to offer earlier in the year.

For Mr Yang, this was a rare public appearance and one that many in the Web 2.0 crowd thought was going to get cancelled because he would know it would be a double whammy of awkward questions. Microsoft is never far from an interviewer's mind and today there was the added news of Google.

Another reason for the no show speculation was the circulation of a fake e-mail/memo that went around Yahoo priming staff to expect a major announcement suggesting Mr Yang was going to resign.

John Battelle, who hosted the conversation with Mr Yang at the Summit in San Francisco, acknowledged that it had been a tough year for the CEO and a tough 24 hours as well.

But Mr Yang pointed out that he was a fighter and his appearance in front of this tech crowd was proof of that.

"My personal belief is if you're not in the game to win, you shouldn't be in the game, and that's the way that I try to encourage the whole company to think about it."


  • Comment number 1.

    From MS:

    "Hey, Yahoo, we might. But it'll be on our terms, not yours".

    A while back I mentioned that when MS withdrew its initial offer that this saga wasn't over, something that was pretty obvious to most people with a bit of business nous.

  • Comment number 2.

    with microsoft's dominance over the pc market does it matter if they buy yahoo or leave it to struggle along by itself one will never know.

    is there ever going to be a viable competitor to windows we again will never know.

    with the future changing every 6 months who knows what will happen next.

    as long as thing keep working and systems improove every one will be happy.

  • Comment number 3.

    Of course this smacks of desperation. However it's also clear that Yang isn't all that interested in making a huge amount of money from the selling of Yahoo (not that he particularly is short of a few bob).

    The shareprice has tumbled and he'll never get anything around $30/share anymore but I don't think he cares. Frankly he would have to be mindless if he didn't realise that $30+/share from MS wasn't a good deal. I just think he feels too attached to the company he started and once ruled the Internet and maybe has let it become a bit too personal. Maybe some of our football club owners should take a leaf out of this guy's book.

    While MS might be the dominant OS vendor we all know who dominates the Internet search market probably to a much greater extent than MS does with the OS market. Figures alone shouldn't be used to judge the dominance in either market. Whereas MS is losing share to MacOS and (slowly) to Linux, in the search market Google is unchallenged for sometime. The only way to change this is if two big players get together and rather than gang up on Google but actually challenge them to up their game.

    For those that hate MS, they fund a lot more research here in the UK than Google ever did. In this case it really might just be Google who should be viewed with the "overlord" status.

  • Comment number 4.

    It doesn't matter that Microsoft is dominant in the PC market, that market is saturated and Microsoft can't deliver growth relying on it.

    Apple are eating into Microsoft's desktop market as are Linux distributions.

    The market Microsoft wants to do well in is online advertising.

  • Comment number 5.

    Apple will continue to be a niche player in the OS market whilst it's goods are overpriced, but then that provides the very niche status that Apple fills. If Apple Macs became mainstream it would detract from their brand! As for Yahoo they made big mistake not accepting the earlier MS offer. The best bet for Yang is to get MS back to the table and head up their web services division as part of the deal.

  • Comment number 6.

    Mr Yang looks like Moss from the Graham Lineham sitcom The IT Crowd, as played by Richard Ayoade: perhaps that might cheer him a little.

  • Comment number 7.

    Apple only have to 'do a Microsoft' and de-regulate the hardware and allow anyone to make and sell Apple compatible computer bits to see their share price shoot up. The sales of Apple OS be it Tiger or whatever would give the market an alternaltive to Windows. Its only a matter of time...

  • Comment number 8.

    I think they should be purchased on "our terms; not there's".....


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