What is it about Microsoft that Yahoo most hates?

What is it about Microsoft that Yahoo most hates?

Summary: Whether or not the final word from the Yahoo board comes down today -- and launches the antitrust-investigation phase of the proposed MicroHoo combination -- my question remains: Why are Yahoo management and many Yahoo employees so dead-set against becoming part of Microsoft?

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By the end of today -- if TechCrunch's sources are right -- we may know whether Yahoo is going to accept or fight Microsoft's bid to buy out Yahoo.

Whether or not the final word comes down today -- and launches the antitrust-investigation phase of the proposed MicroHoo combination -- my question remains: Why are Yahoo management and many Yahoo employees so dead-set against becoming part of Microsoft?

Sure, Yahoos may believe they (somehow?) can make more money, in the long run, as an independent entity. But why has CEO Jerry Yang and the Yahoo board continually rebuffed not just Microsoft buyout offers, but seemingly even partnership arrangements with which the Redmondians have approached Yahoo over the past year-plus?

Yahoo seemingly isn't opposed to the idea of a takeover, as it allegedly has been soliciting other white knights (and unsuccessfully so). And the company seems open to partnerships, as it supposedly is mulling a plan to outsource its ad business to Google in order to thwart Microsoft's plans.

If you were the No. 2 search player with no real plan for closing in on No. 1, wouldn't you at least consider a Microsoft offer? What is it about Microsoft to which the Yahoos are so adamantly opposed?

Is it simply the loss of autonomy? Microsoft's perception by many outsiders as being completely clueless about the Web 2.0 world? The possibility of having to relocate to un-sunny Seattle?

If you were to pick the No. 1 reason you think Yahoo has been less than ecstatic about not just a Microsoft takeover, but any kind of partnership with the Redmondians, what would it be?

[poll id=17]

Other write-in candiates welcome. Why do you think Yahoo hates Microsoft?

Topics: Banking, Microsoft, Social Enterprise

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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27 comments
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  • Not hard to understand

    [i]Whether or not the final word comes down today ? and launches the antitrust-investigation phase of the proposed MicroHoo combination ? my question remains: Why are Yahoo management and many Yahoo employees so dead-set against becoming part of Microsoft?[/i]

    Come on, MJ -- it's the same as with any takeover. They've spent years of their lives and worked hard to contribute to what Yahoo is. They are, to use the current buzzword, "invested."

    The idea of having all of that work bent, folded, spindled, mutilated, and finally digested into the usual products of digestion (and in the process being out of work) is only going to sit well with someone who never cared about their work in the first place.

    The only difference in this case is that unlike a lot of takeovers, where the rank and file can at least maintain the illusion that It Won't Happen Here (for a while, anyway ...) the Yahoos can't help but be aware of the culture and track record of the Beast of Redmond.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • "invested"

      Yes, I understand that they are invested in what they built. But if the choices are: 1. Die (or at least lay off a huge part of the workforce and sell key assets to stay in business); 2. Outsource your search business to the monopolist in online advertising; or 3. Do a deal with the devil and hope for the best, I think I'd pick No. 3....
      Mary Jo Foley
      • #1) and #3) are the same

        Which of these parties are the ones on the block (after the anti-trust play nice period is over).

        1) Yahoo Accounting department of MS's
        2) Yahoo advertising team or MS's
        3) Yahoo's IT infrastructure oversight or MS's
        4) Yahoo's HR department or MS's
        ...

        Some from each of Yahoo's above will be absorbed, the rest, hey that's why you merge, you want the guts, the support structure is redundant.

        Now, add in the following.

        If MS's long term vision doesn't jive with Yahoo's, who wins that battle. Whereever there are "differences in synergies", the MS side wins, they are the big dog.

        TripleII
        TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • The fear of the unknown

        This is not
        Here are people that helped make the company, they were to be the "buyers", not "buyees".

        Many look at mergers/purchases from the standpoint that Their company will be gone, replaced by the Other company. "Their" company is part of who they are and in any sale like this, the "Other" company, their competitor, looks to be the winner, so how does that make someone feel?

        It also adds finality to it, closing the door on the chance/challenge of turning their own company around, always wondering if the next idea was going to be the one to pull themselves up with.

        I have been thru 3 mergers in my lifetime, and with every one the majority of the people viewed in quite negatively and did not like it one bit, I included.

        In the end, 2 out of 3 times, it helped me advance in ways with opportunities that were not available prior to the merger.

        We fear the unknown.
        GuidingLight
        • Not sure what happened there

          I had opened with:

          This is not to say that this is the definative case here, but in the past I have seen it to be true that companies (management and employees alike) do not want to go from being [b]OUR OWN BIG COMPANY[/b] to [i]little guy, a division of [b]SOME OTHER BIG COMPANY[/b][/i].
          GuidingLight
  • Love those polls

    The poll only allows one choice, but I think there are several that apply; the most important being the one not listed, but mentioned by Yagotta; nobody likes to have their work thrown away.
    John L. Ries
    • What makes you think it'll be thrown away

      I'm interested in the perception part of this. If you substitute any other company other than Microsoft what would the reaction be like? I remember all the drama when ORacle made its first big peoplesoft acquisition. Now Oracle is the Borg. Since I think Microsoft is likely to follow Ellison's playbook this "anybody but MSFT" attitude is going to be an issue.
      Larry Dignan
      • Substitution

        [i]If you substitute any other company other than Microsoft what would the reaction be like?[/i]

        The odds are the same. When the dust settles, the body count is the same as before the takeover. The ones with pink slips are almost all from the acquiree. There are always exceptions, but they're rare. If nothing else, they don't have the connections into the new power structure.

        As for the work, same goes. NIH is the rule. There are all sorts of rationalizations, but having been through a few takeovers (in two cases where the explicit rationale was to "acquire X technology") the end result after two years was that the purchased work was sitting on backup tapes somewhere and absolutely [u]zilch[/u] was in product or undergoing active development.

        The only difference here is, as noted, that the Yahoos don't have the comfort of illusion. MS has done enough acquisitions to be known, and their absolute intolerance of anything not originating in Redmond is legendary.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
      • I think the perception with any buyout is...

        ...the new parent company takes what it wants, throws the rest away (assets, products, employees), and absorbs the target into the new company. Not really what most people want to happen to a company they've invested years of their professional lives in.
        John L. Ries
  • RE: What is it about Microsoft that Yahoo most hates?

    Mary, the last thing in the world Jerry Young would do is selling Yahoo, even for 1 trillion $$. i have said that in my blog, it has a lot to do with his background and culture. He would consider this a failure of his life (yes, his life). honestly, i would feel the same way.

    But that is not the only reason. The deeper reason is none of the listed above.

    Everybody from the academic area hate Microsoft. This is very very unhealthy Jealousy. This also affacts some of the college students later in their career. That why you see many mouthful Interneters yelling around about anything Microsoft do. e.g. Vista, my opinion, is greatest OS I have ever seen. But you know what those people say on the internet. The jealousy started from very early years of internet or PC, when internet is a tool for professors, researhers, students exchange information and ideas. Everything is free, no rules, and everything is sharable. Same thing with software/source code, it is not considered as intellectual property. it is articles published, everyone can share it. Unix source used to be free. Microsoft came along, and changed the rule, they have pay to use. Also, they are shocked by DOS' huge success. They could never understand why a single user OS, and not as well designed as Unix can be so successful. What they hate most is Microsoft made computer so easy to use that they lost their authority. In their mind, computer is science, only people like them can possibly understand and use it.

    This also led to attacks on Windows OS, virus. Can Unix has as many viruses? abosultely. I am computer programmer since DOS appeared. I know is possible. Why there is no virus on Unix or other non-Windows OS? simple. the origin of viruses (may not be direct) is from those people love Unixes and hate Microsoft.

    From here you can see why when Google or Apple or Linux or firefox has any success, interneters cheers. Those people are definitely not majority, but their voice appears the loudest. The sad thing is most people just listen to what other people say. And you can see why even Micosoft is doing very well, you cann't say a lot of positive news or comments.

    Yahoos live in the same world as we do.
    jk_10
    • haters

      you hit the point right on the dot.....hate never propser!!
      1g2j
    • What a crock of 5h1t

      Have you ever even used Linux?

      I doubt that there is ANY jealousy involved.

      Unix code was never open, as you say.

      Yes, Unix viruses are possible. I don't think anyone ever said otherwise. They would not propagate though, because of the structure of the OS. It's not a matter of whether they're possible. They are.

      Please don't put words into the mouths of people as to why Microsoft gets bad press. It's not jealousy at all. Sure, I'd love to have the money Bill Gates has. It has nothing to do with jealousy though. It's their BUSINESS PRACTICES. It's their ABUSE of their monopoly power. It's their SHAFTING of their customers and competitors!! It's got nothing to do with jealousy.

      I'm not jealous of MS. What's there to be jealous of??? A monopolistic tyrant?? That's like saying I'm jealous of Hitler because of the power he had. Or Stalin, Mussolini, or any other dictator.

      I feel sorry for people who are stuck with MS products. They can't see anything that is not MS. I'm not saying that MS products are not great products. It's just that people are stuck with either MS products, such as Office, or products which don't work on other platforms such as Photoshop.

      I'm not jealous. Linux is a far better OS than Windows. I don't care what it won't run. That's not a failure of the OS. It's a failure of the developers. There are FAR MORE programs available to me on Linux than on Windows. But I'm stuck with Windows for some of the programs I have to run...because they're ONLY made for Windows.
      mdsmedia
      • unix started life as open source...

        [i]Unix code was never open, as you say.[/i]

        the original at&t unix was released as open source and freely distributed to anyone that had the capability to compile it. thats where BSD came from. Berkley ordered a free copy of at&t unix (at&t was a legal monopoly and therefore forbidden from profiting from anything other than long distance telephone service). they tweaked it, compiled it and released it for free to the general public. when at&t got broken up in to various different companies all competing in the same market then the original at&t was able to release unix system v for commercial sale.
        brokndodge9
    • Conspiratorial??? Naaaah!

      <b>This makes ABM'ers like me and our Conspiracy theories seem mild and conventional:

      </b>"This also led to attacks on Windows OS, virus. Can Unix has as many viruses? abosultely. I am computer programmer since DOS appeared. I know is possible. Why there is no virus on Unix or other non-Windows OS? simple. the origin of viruses (may not be direct) is from those people love Unixes and hate Microsoft."

      Lol! You're a effing joke...
      thungurknifur
    • This comment is so stupid and ignorant it's not worth debunking.(nt)

      nt
      bmerc
  • Yahoo is 'Open Source'; MS isn't

    nt
    D T Schmitz
  • RE: What is it about Microsoft that Yahoo most hates?

    I believe many Yahoos believe, maybe rightly so, that they are toe-to-toe Microsoft, Google, etc as a corporation. They may believe this shows Yahoo to be "second tier", for lack of a better term.

    I do believe their developers, having met a number of them, are definitely toe-to-toe with Microsoft developers and, believe it or not MS haters, Microsoft has some really great developers.
    cromwellryan
  • Not the location

    I have no clue about this, although I suspect that a lot of it has to do with self-deception as well as exaggerated fear of Microsoft. And I have nothing useful to expand on that.

    I don't think location is it though. Microsoft has a significant presence in Silicon Valley and a Yahoo! acquisition would strengthen that. Considering how many softies commute between Seattle and the Bay Area now, and how many softies work remotely along the Pacific corridor and elsewhere, I think location is not a factor at all. (And transferring to Redmond might be a relief to others.)

    Heck, I wouldn't mind going the other direction from Seattle, for that matter, since I love the Bay Area, although the occassional commute South, such as for the occassional workshop and conference is probably more realistic personally. (And I'm not sharp enough for what Yahoo and the Windows Live folk do anyhow.)
    orcmid
  • Monopolist? Yeah right.

    Wow, Microsoft is such the monopoly, that it isn't at all possible for me to use technology without Microsoft on it. (sarcasm)

    There choices, and if there weren't, then Microsoft has the monopoly on such things.

    I know there's people who don't like Microsoft, and they go all their way out to avoid them. So obviously, Microsoft isn't ruining and devastating people's lives, if people still prefer to choose Microsoft products.
    quikboy
  • Missing choice

    All the above.

    You're welcome. No thanks necessary.
    Ole Man