Yahoo’s board of directors is probably going to acquiesce to Microsoft’s buyout offer today:
There are only two options left. Accept the offer in principal, and try to increase the price with no negotiating leverage at all, or do a deal with Google to outsource search advertising and, likely, search itself.
The board, weâ€™ve heard, is basically being told by outside advisors to take the Microsoft deal. But weâ€™ve also heard that a contingent of senior executives at Yahoo, who are willing to do literally anything to thwart a Microsoft takeover, are pushing for the Google deal and will present their case at the meeting.
A deal with Google is, for various reasons, unlikely. Not least of which is antitrust concerns, whereas a Microsoft-Yahoo merger somewhat paradoxically would improve the competitive landscape (by providing a true competitor to Google;s dominance, a fact that has not been lost on Google).
There’s a lot of speculation about how the merger will affect the various brands and services offered by both Microsoft and Yahoo. It’s likely that MSN will go away, to be supplanted by the Yahoo portal (branding intact). Search will probably be a combination of technologies between Live Search and Yahoo’s own algorithms. I wager that the combo will gain more market share than merely the sum of their separate share now, because by consolidating the alternatives into one product, it’s becomes The Alternative to Google.
There’s a whole raft of other services from both MS and Y! such as maps, photos, bookmarking, email, and more that will all be integrated, combined, or weeded out. Of these, the ones of most interest to me are del.icio.us, Flickr, and Yahoo Mail (the latter of which I actually pay Yahoo $20/year for the upgraded service). It will be interesting to see if/how these services get integrated into Internet Explorer, Office, and even Windows itself.
I’ve always been a fan of Yahoo and I don’t subscribe to the Microsoft as Evil dogma. So I guess you might accuse me of drinking the Kool-Aid, but I am pretty excited about this merger.