MIcrosoft apparently wants to bring all of the expertise they’ve displayed in their Vista operating system to the portal/search business on the Internet. They have launched a bid to buy Yahoo!, the original indispensable search engine and now multilayered service provider. It marks the most significant expansion attempt in years for Microsoft, and maybe their most aggressive bid ever:
Microsoft Corp. offered to buy search engine operator Yahoo Inc. for $44.6 billion in cash and stock in a move to boost its competitive edge in the online services market.
Microsoft bid $31 per share for Yahoo, representing a 62 percent premium to Yahoo’s closing stock price Thursday.
It looks like Microsoft may have given up on MSN. Microsoft launched their own search/portal site years ago, and tied their Windows Messenger IM product to it. It didn’t exactly catch on with web surfers, who preferred the sleeker search engines of first Yahoo and then Google. Never one to abide a market-share failure, the Redmond juggernaut now wants to buy its way to the top, or in this case, almost to the top. Even Microsoft probably can’t afford Google.
Vista users around the world probably all have the same thought — why not use that money to fix their latest operating system? From the annoying User Account Control functions to their buggy DNS system, users have begun migrating backwards in frustration. An important industry voice, Info World, has launched a petition drive demanding that Microsoft make XP available indefinitely, or at least until they have updated Vista to work with a wider range of existing peripherals and to function at a much higher competency level than users currently experience.
Of course, Microsoft could always claim that they can multitask and both fix Vista and integrate Yahoo into their organization. However, when any company spends $45 billion on an acquisition, their attention will rightly be spent on ensuring the cash flows that will legitimize the risk taken for the investment, and scant resources will go elsewhere in the short run. Vista users will get taken for granted, as they obviously were when the product got released.