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May 7, 2008

NEWS: Bill Gates reiterates Microsoft's Yahoo-less path

Ed: The deal is dead. It never made sense. The conversation won't die.

Microsoft’s Corporate Development Strategy Changing Daily

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told the press in Tokyo yesterday that the company “isn’t pursuing other deals following the withdrawal of its $47.5 billion takeover bid for Yahoo.” Their experience dealing with Yahoo, apparently, has put them off acquisitions altogether.

But wait. Just Monday Gates said “I wouldn’t rule out some partnerships but we don’t have anything imminent there” following a meeting and dinner with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak. In corporate-speak, that’s a pretty strong statement that Microsoft wants to buy some companies.

Did Microsoft change corporate development strategies from one day to the next? It appears they did. On Monday he says he wouldn’t rule out partnerships. Tuesday, no partnerships and a go it alone strategy.

What’s the real strategy? I can’t help but wonder if their key goal is to convince the market that they really don’t want Yahoo in order to drive their stock price down as far as possible. It’s clear that the markets still anticipate a deal with Microsoft, or possibly Google. It is currently trading at just under $26; analysts think its share price should be closer to $22.

If Gates is out telling the world, as he did on Monday, that they need to acquire other companies to fix their Internet strategy, it doesn’t take very long to figure out that there isn’t another Yahoo out there on the market. Microsoft has a long term problem on its hands, and Yahoo may be the only remedy. So when Gates says Microsoft isn’t pursuing deals, what I tranlate that to is “We really, really want to buy Yahoo.”

Bill Gates reiterates Microsoft's Yahoo-less path

, CNet

Bill Gates to dealmakers: cool your heels.

With its multibillion-dollar Yahoo merger bid yanked from the table, the Microsoft chairman said in a Tokyo press conference on Wednesday that the software giant has no immediate plans to jump on another deal, according to an Associated Press report.

"At this point, Microsoft is focused on its independent strategy," Gates said during the press conference.

The Microsoft founder recounted how the Redmond giant had spent a lot of energy on trying to wrap up a deal with Yahoo, but it ultimately decided that it was better to leave it behind.

Gates reiterated Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's plan: pursue an independent path to grow the company's search advertising and online-services business.

That Plan B, as outlined by CNET News.com's Ina Fried, could include such things as beefing up its engineering ranks and looking at other business partnerships.

Some of those partnerships could include Facebook, in which Microsoft is already a minority investor, and MySpace.com.

Gates is the latest Microsoft executive to chime in on the software giant's future plans. Microsoft's Windows Live General Manager Brian Hall covered such ground Tuesday at the Merrill Lynch Technology Conference, where he addressed investors.

Yahoo Can Find Its Way, But Only if It Stops Searching

Jerry Yang's spin campaign about why the Microsoft bid fell through is transparent. He's not trying to cajole Steve Ballmer back to the negotiating table; he's trying to cover his rear and appease indignant shareholders. The only reason he's so open about accepting a new bid from Microsoft, I think, is that he's not expecting another one to come.
May 6, 2008 4:00 AM PDT

Memo to Jerry Yang: How to make Yahoo great again

To: Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang
From: Stefanie Olsen, CNET News.com
Re: Getting your company back on track

Now that Yahoo appears to be on its own path, it's time for the company to find in its past what could again make it great.

Contrary to popular opinion, the key to the future isn't becoming a technological marvel to rival Google. Instead, Yahoo should home in on what made it special before the dot-com bust: The Yahoooooo! (cowboy twang inserted) of yesteryear.

Yahoo bang logo

Yahoo was an Internet media pioneer. The company built or bought every massively popular feature on the Web today--think Broadcast.com (video), Launch (music), and Groups (social networks). It also developed an advertising engine that could deliver on the dream campaign of any marketer with the data to back up that promise. You could argue that Yahoo failed to take advantage of many of those assets in recent years, but the shortcomings haven't been in vision, they've been in execution...

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