Microsoft and Yahoo: Ballmer's 'failure' now a 'dodged bullet'

Summary:Remember that eleventh-hour decision -- when Microsoft opted not to buy Yahoo? Remember how so many pundits portrayed CEO Steve Ballmer's walking away as a fireable offense? What a difference a few months make.

Remember that eleventh-hour decision -- when Microsoft opted not to buy Yahoo? Remember how so many pundits portrayed CEO Steve Ballmer's walking away as a fireable offense?

What a difference a few months make.

Now Ballmer is being called prescient and smart to have "dodged the (Yahoo) bullet."

Financial madmoneyman Jim Cramer on October 13:

"Microsoft (stock) shouldn't be that cheap, given the fact that it's got a powerful franchise and how they dodged the bullet with Yahoo!"

A quote in a Bloomberg story from today also paints Ballmer's decision to walk away as a positive:

"Ballmer 'might be the luckiest guy in the software industry,' said analyst Charles Di Bona at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. 'One of the guys here just looked at Yahoo's share price and said to me, "Nice miss by Microsoft."'

It will be interesting to see how Ballmer is judged (again) if Microsoft ends up rebidding for all or part of Yahoo (which, as I post this, is trading now around $13.50) ....

I have to say (as I did at the start of this year) that  I still don't see why Microsoft would buy all of Yahoo -- even at firesale prices. And I also still don't see why Yahoo would sell off its search business....

Do you think there are enough assets left at Yahoo -- on the search side of the house or otherwise -- for Ballmer & Co. to reconsider?

Topics: Enterprise Software, Browser, CXO, Microsoft, Social Enterprise

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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