Microsoft Fights Back

You're going to be reading a lot about the goings-on in the Microsoft-osphere and the Yahoo-scape in the coming months. Here's the latest:

After being initially rejected, Microsoft has reportedly authorized a proxy fight to win over its quarry -- or, more accurately, its quarry's shareholders. This would be a less expensive option for Microsoft than raising its initial $44.6 billion offer, but it could still add up to an extra $20 to $30 million, observers predict. Next to that monster offer, a mere $20 to $30 million doesn't seem like that much.

Even in the context of its initial offer, before it got rebuffed by Yahoo, Microsoft has made it clear that it intends to go the distance and seal the deal. Raising the value of its initial offer -- which is half-cash and half-stock -- would cost Microsoft an extra $1.4 billion for every dollar per share increase. Going the proxy route, while a bit nastier, is much more economical for the tenacious Redmondians. They'd have to hire someone to manage the proxy process and send notices to all shareholders.

Gates has been quoted in published reports saying he feels the offer is fair, and that Yahoo should "take a hard look at it." Between that and the prospect of a hostile action, if I were driving the Yahoo bus, I might just pick the easy lane to avoid having to validate my reasons to a population of nervous shareholders.

Buckle your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen. This is bound to be a rocky ride. Many of you have checked in already (and I thank you for that). Do you think Microsoft should pursue Yahoo at all possible costs? What's the payback, and is it enough? Make a deal with me at [email protected].

Planting Developers
Sometimes Microsoft giveth (or aggressively buyeth) and sometimes it taketh away. In this case, it giveth. And it's giving away to students the professional editions of Visual Studio and several other development tools. With the proper care, feeding and sunlight, these students ought to blossom into a bumper crop of developers in the coming years.

Microsoft is calling this program of free development tools DreamSpark. The company plans to authorize students to download and freely use Visual Studio Professional Edition, Expression Studio, XNA Game Studio, SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition and Windows Server Standard Edition. This will get more students comfortable with working in these environments, and make them likely to stick with these environments in the future -- like when they enter the workforce.

Currently, the DreamSpark program is available to more than 35 million college students in the U.S., United Kingdom, China, France, Germany, Spain and several other countries. This fall, high school students around the world will also be able to join. Microsoft hopes to ultimately equip as many as 1 billion future developers with its tools, greatly stacking the future workforce deck in its favor. Interested students can verify their eligibility here.

Is there a budding developer in your household? How do you groom current and potential employees? Where do you go shopping for talent? How's your staffing situation overall? Send your organization's resume to me at [email protected].

Dell Supporting Support
The PC and server business isn't like it used to be. Hardware is now virtually a commodity, and margins have continued to slip and slip. These days, services bundled with the hardware are what set the Dells apart from the Gateways.

Trying to stay one step ahead of expectations, Dell is giving its services organization an extreme makeover. The end result will be two new levels of service: Dell ProSupport for IT and ProSupport for End-Users. ProSupport for IT promises to streamline the support process and help you get right to the people you need to speak to when you need help. If your company already subscribes to the Gold Technical Support package, you'll have access to ProSupport at no additional cost.

Do you have any tech support success stories or nightmares? Share your pain and progress with me at [email protected].

About the Author

Lafe Low is the editorial liaison for ECG Events.


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