Henry Blodget over at the newly rebranded “Business Insider – Silicon Alley Insider” (a hint of “Microsoft branding mess” in that one, no?), this morning wrote an excellent post on how the balance of power may have just shifted back to Yahoo in the long-running Micro-Hoo buy-out saga (of Yahoo search only, or otherwise).
I consider this a must-read to get yourself back up-to-date on everything that has transpired over the past 3+ months behind the scenes, while we were all busy watching something else, the global financial melt-down, say.
It is almost precisely 1 year and 1 month to the day that Microsoft first launched its unsolicited buy-out bid, and you know the endless back-and-forth that ensued. What stands out is that as of today, while Yahoo’s stock has fallen from its pre-offer price of about $19 on 2/1/2008 to about $12 (and Jerry Yang was so maligned for not taking Ballmer’s offer that he ultimately resigned a few months ago), Microsoft’s stock has gone from $32 to now around $17 during that time!
If you do the math, that’s worse than Yahoo’s stock has done. So who still wants to argue that Ballmer would have really been much better at steering Yahoo (or really worse: the combined Micro-hoo “Franken-carrier”)? Which brings me back to the headline, and this quote from Blodget’s post that sums it all up very neatly:
Another six months of Microsoft Internet futility. Last summer, Microsoft had been struggling to succeed online for 13 years, and it had only managed to run a distant third. Now it has been struggling for 13 and a half years. The company’s Internet branding, strategy, and organization is in its usual chaotic disarray. Perhaps the new search head, stolen from Yahoo, can cut through the bureaucracy and fix everything. After 13.5 years of a lot of talent and money being thrown at this problem, however, we wouldn’t hold our breath.
So the saga continues. The patient (Micro-hoo) indeed isn’t completely dead yet… but Yahoo’s new CEO Carol Bartz now appears to have the upper hand in any negotiations from here on…
Note: In case you don’t recall how badly Microsoft’s branding in particular has been going, refresh your memory here. Branding is where it all begins, after all, how can you know what you should be doing if you don’t know who you are?! And hoping that an engineer like Lu, however talented, is going to fix branding and related woes is simply delusional.
You might also enjoy this post on complexity, and why even the 800 Pound Gorilla such as Microsoft cannot avoid it’s pernicious effects.