Carl Icahn and Steve Ballmer announced plans today for Microsoft to acquire some or all of Yahoo if the current board was ousted in an upcoming election on August 1st. While they didn't come out and say it was a done deal, it does appear that Microsoft is still interested in either an outright purchase or acquiring Yahoo's search engine business that competes with Google.
Larry Dignan summarizes the message as follows: "Boot Yahoo’s board at the company’s shareholder meeting on Aug. 1 and Icahn can pull off a deal with Yahoo. And Microsoft is interested."
Other than catching "the one that got away" I'm still at a loss to explain why Microsoft is so interested. Yahoo has already battled with Google in the search space and lost. Microsoft battled and lost. What's needed is not more of the same; it's something completely new. Despite an overwhelmingly dominant position as the "go-to" place for people to find things on the internet, if someone comes up with a better idea that could change pretty quickly. Does anybody remember Alta Vista, which seemed to have searching and machine translation wrapped up in the early days?
Imitating Google isn't going to put you on top. Put those billions to work on research Mr. Ballmer. Encourage entrepreneurship and creativity, and advance the state of the art so that everyone benefits.