Postscript in the preamble dated 8/15/08:   Microsoft and Yahoo did not reach an agreement.   No big surprise.   Everyone thinks the two companies and their executives are geniuses, but I have news for you.   It is very possible that they are actually quite incompetent.   Yes, they have created massively successful companies, but the execs still cannot walk on water.   Microsoft made every mistake that could be made in this fiasco of a takeover, and the Yahoo folks may have walked away from billions of dollars as their own company is loosing Internet space) and could someday be worth a small fraction of what it was worth.
A Microsoft buyout of Yahoo would be a disaster. Such an acquisition would send us back in time, technologically speaking. The outcome has major implications for all of us, including the real estate industry, which depends heavily upon the Internet. Here’s why.

First, large companies (in this case multi-billion dollar companies) do not merge with the same simplicity of making a banana split. You can hardly screw up mixing ice cream, fruit, nuts, and sweet flavors. Whatever you end up with is edible, at least for the creator. Attempting to mix two massive organizations with completely different foundations, management philosophies, marketing structures, business models, affiliate relationships, customer networks, financial and investment practices, and market niches would be the ultimate nightmare for both companies, but ultimately for consumers.

Steven Covey, one of this country’s most knowledgeable and respected experts on business and mergers, said long after the merger of his company and the Franklin company that he would not have done it if he knew how massively complex and impossible it would be. That merger would be a skip in the park compared to a Microsoft buyout of Yahoo, which would be more like a New York marathon.

The second reason a Microsoft Yahoo merger (or acquisition) would be a disaster is because we all know from history (which we won’t naively forget, right?) that Microsoft is the leader of absolute control, and the consumer is always going to pay for submitting to Microsoft. That is true of operating systems, software, subscription services and Internet infrastructure.

If you give Microsoft the keys to the castle, you will pay forever to live in the Kingdom, to own property, for the right to grow and sell crops, to irrigate your fields, to plant red roses (premium fees will apply if you want other colors), and if you want to actually tour the castle, you will pay in gold (secured by the lives of your grandchildren).

Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently called Microsoft’s attempt to buy Yahoo “unnerving” and said the move imperils innovation on the Internet. Sergey Brin is correct.

An acquisition of Yahoo by Microsoft would be a major disaster for all of us. Except Google. The leaders at Google are Internet light years ahead of Steve Balmer and company. While millions of consumers are moving rapidly toward open source software and reasonably priced and beneficial subscription services, and away from Microsoft products and services as fast as they can run, Google is embracing consumers’ needs and preferences. What is Steve Balmer thinking? Where is Bill Gates anyway? Oh, yea, he left the building.

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