Barney's Rubble

Forget Yahoo! Buy Mac

Yahoo doesn't have anything Microsoft doesn't already have. Apple, on the other hand...

Microsoft has been pursuing Yahoo! for years, and for the life of me I can't figure out why. I hadn't used Yahoo! for quite a while, so I took a look to see what was so special -- just what was worth $44 billion.

I found that everything Yahoo! has Microsoft has as well. Instant messaging? Got it. Search? Check. Looking for a girlfriend? Both can help. Need news? You could argue that Microsoft, with its MSNBC partnership, is far superior.

The only thing Yahoo! has is users, and it's losing these customers faster than a Chinese toy factory.

Yahoo!'s not pushing any envelopes that I can see. It's an old-style Internet company -- yes, there is such a thing.

If Microsoft wants to spend $44 billion, it should spend it on technology, not a bunch of Web eyeballs. $44 billion can fund an awful lot of inventions.

If Microsoft is adamant about buying an existing asset, I've got an idea that I'll give away for free. Buy Apple's Mac business. This may actually cost a tad more than Yahoo!, but it would be well worth it.

Despite what the pundits say, the Internet and cloud computing are not replacing our thick clients. Like my waist, thick clients are getting steadily thicker. Just look at Windows Vista, Mac OS X Leopard and even the GUIs on Linux distributions.

Microsoft should have the best thick-client OS in the world, and that means going with the best kernel that exists today: the same one used in Cupertino. Because they'd be buying that, why not just take the GUI and all the apps at the same time?

My sons, David and Nick, live on their Mac laptops. They spend hours with Garage Band, iTunes, the built-in video tools and others apps that come with the OS. Half the time, they don't even realize when my network is down, because they aren't using the Internet.

Microsoft can still go after the Internet, but that doesn't take $44 billion -- just good ideas. How much did it cost to start Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Wikipedia or craigslist?

Developing a great rich client -- now that takes some dough.

Finally, why does Microsoft's entire strategy have to revolve around Google? Are IBM, HP, Oracle and SAP obsessed with Google? Nope, and they're all doing pretty well. If Microsoft makes the deal while Bush is still in office, anti-trust won't be an issue. If it is, just make Vista open source.

What would you do with Microsoft's $44 billion? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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Reader Comments:

Sat, Apr 26, 2008 Alec Anonymous

This article (though probably not meant with much seriousness) is a joke I am afraid.

"Buy Apple's Mac business. This may actually cost a tad more than Yahoo!, but it would be well worth it."

"cost a tad more"!!!!.......
Unless I have missread the msn money site
The market cap for Apple is more than three times that of Yahoo.

MS are at a serious limit raising 44Billion never mind over three times that!

Also, why buy into a market they already dominate ?

Yes Apple have a more solid OS core but they also add to the MS coffers already (i.e. every Mac Office sale generates MS$).

Once OSX is MS owned and gains massive market share it's value will erode as it will become the focus for hackers and viruses. Whilst OSX can sit there and say it is more secure, that is in large part due to it's small market exposure compared to Windows. How long after buying OSX do you think the first major increase in attacks will start and the folks will then blame MS!

I agree Yahoo is over priced by MS but they have to do something even if thick computing isn't going away they are determined to keep market dominance and they are not dominant in the very closely related "cloud" market. It is a real danger to their future revenue.

HP etc are not concerned about Google because Google is not a threat to them.

Sorry to say I don't see any common sense in what this article puts forward.

Mon, Apr 21, 2008 g Anonymous

please god no!!!!

Tue, Apr 8, 2008 Demola Nigeria

From my desk, looking through the monitor into the internet world, I suspect someone in Microsoft made a drunk bet after losing to a Yahoo executive at a game that he will ensure that Microsoft buys Yahoo..otherwise I do not see the sense in the Yahoo purchase.

Sun bought MySQL for 1/44 of the amount MS is offering, and that was a sensible purchase in my not-an-analyst-just-a-user-of-computer-software-and-internet opinion. Minus the comics on "My Yahoo" page, the company serves me no other purpose.

Thu, Mar 27, 2008 tuomoks Seattle

A great idea. But currently Microsoft seems to want it all and can't make its mind. One one side MS is (still?) trying Internet, social networks, etc but at the same time putting huge resources to get to big corporate world. On long run they may be successful with the wast resources but it also seems to confuse them what to try next. And I don't think they can beat IBM, SUN, HP in corporate game, they would need hardware they control for that. Great public, a huge and growing group using computer resources is another game - now maybe MS will buy Motorola mobile device unit and get Windows Mobile really to the world?

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