02 Feb 2008

Let Us Prey

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John Murrell at Good Morning Silicon Valley reports on Microsoft’s $31 a share offer for Yahoo.

You could watch it playing out like one of those “nature, red in tooth and claw” documentaries. There was the wildebeest (played by Yahoo), slowed by a nagging groin injury, gradually starting to fall behind the herd. The vultures and hyenas (played by analysts and pundits) were starting to circle and salivate, respectively. Then, off in the tall grass there’s a stirring, then an explosion of dust as the lion (played with scenery-chewing enthusiasm by Microsoft) springs at its quarry and sinks its teeth into the back of its neck. Sensitive viewers may want to turn away.

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Dominique R. Poirier

We may not always agree on everything, though.

On the one hand, I believe that if Microsoft is to buy Yahoo!, then it will be a good deal for both of them.

On the other hand, I believe that Microsoft will be well advised to keep Yahoo! as name for this search engine. Yahoo!, as name and as a product, enjoys good image and reputation; better than MSN.com, to be objective; and it is quite time consuming and uncertain to build a brand.

The main problem of Microsoft is its power, which is perceived by many—outside the United States, essentially—as overwhelming; and even by some as the expression of certain worldwide “U.S. imperialism” and selfish capitalism.

See the attack against Microsoft by the European Court of Justice on the ground that Microsoft abused its market dominance.

As a matter of fact, Europe is the place where the most resentful anti-Microsoft and anti-Bill Gates folks are to be found, and that’s why Linux was born and promoted there — as the expression of “anti-capitalism-Microsoft-Bill Gates” — around leftist inspired ideas and concepts of “community” and “sharing.”
But the Linux plot bred the germs of its own failure. For nobody but a few could expect making a living in working on Linux compatible computer software. Many skilled specialists and geeks seduced by fashionable reveries about universalism were fooled by some dedicated evangelists who, truly, happened to be on the payroll of certain not-so-unselfish companies and sovereign entities. Actually, those who witnessed that could begin to wonder who were the circling and salivating vultures and hyenas.

Well, in acquiring Yahoo!, if ever, Microsoft might adapt the recipe it used when it launched and promoted the XBox, whose image and identity today is sufficiently disconnected from the brand Microsoft to be sheltered from the aforesaid negative a priori.

Although John Murrell spotted the vultures and hyenas, he missed to elaborate about the crocodile — but perhaps was he not enough in the know to do so.

Anyways, that’s why my sympathy goes rather to those who act under the limelight, play fair game, and do not attempt to trick others; that is to say: Microsoft.



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