Windows Live Flickr?
Holy testacular Friday. Microsoft has announced in an official press release its proposal to acquire Yahoo! for $44.6 billion in cash and stock, offering $31 a share - a 62% premium over the current trading price.
Ray Ozzie, chief software architect at Microsoft:
"Our lives, our businesses, and even our society have been progressively transformed by the Web, and Yahoo! has played a pioneering role by building compelling, high-scale services and infrastructure...The combination of these two great teams would enable us to jointly deliver a broad range of new experiences to our customers that neither of us would have achieved on our own."
Bloggers, media and pundits are going nuts over this. Reading through some of the reactions, Larry Dignan at ZDNet asks some of the questions that come to mind when considering what this might mean if Yahoo! accepts:
"...the combinations of assets from a combined Microsoft and Yahoo is a bit staggering. MSN, Yahoo, Flickr, Zimbra and a bunch of other properties would be under one roof. The big question: Can Microsoft manage it all?
Some key questions to ponder: Would Zimbra become the future Office Live? How about rationalizing products, ad systems and search algorithms. What about ad markets? Cloud computing projects? The overlap is immense."
Leaving aside the financial, "economies of scale", increased inventory, IP, IQ aspects, the one thing the acquisition would certainly do is massively accelerate Microsoft's progress into the social media space, an area of innovation Microsoft has been lagging relative to Yahoo!
On paper at least. The question then becomes: could Microsoft really leverage the newly acquired social media assets or would the acquisition stifle the innovation in this strategically key area? Windows Live Flickr anyone?