Which parts of Yahoo (if any) would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

Which parts of Yahoo (if any) would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

Summary: There are reports circulating that Microsoft might be considering buying all or parts of Yahoo. Is there any way this move could make sense?

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There's a new report circulating that Microsoft may be seeking to buy all or parts of Yahoo.

That's a crucial distinction right there: "or parts." I'm seeing some other stories claiming that Microsoft is looking to buy all of Yahoo, like Microsoft nearly did  three years ago. The decision to pull the plug on that planned $45 billion acquisition was one of the best/luckiest moves in Microsoft's history, in my (and many others' opinions).

So what might have changed in the last three years that would make Microsoft take another look? Well, I'm sure the asking price is a lot lower right now. But quite a few of the prize employees that Microsoft might have obtained by buying the company in 2008 have either quit to join other companies or are now on Microsoft's payroll. And the coveted Yahoo search technologies that Microsoft may have desired largely have been replaced by Bing.

So let's assume Microsoft's acquisition advisors are thinking sensibly and are considering buying only parts of Yahoo. What might make sense for Microsoft to bid on?

Flickr photo sharing: Could be a good fit with Microsoft's SkyDrive service Yahoo Mail and Messenger: Could be a way for Microsoft to eliminate competitors to its own Windows Live Mail and Messenger services and pick up all those Yahoo customers, too Yahoo Shopping, Yahoo Deals, Yahoo Travel: Any/all of these commerce services might be good complements to Bing's similar offerings

Yahoo Advertising: Would make a decent pairing with Microsoft's myriad advertising efforts, especially given the emphasis Microsoft is putting on online ads.

Other piece parts that might make sense for the Softies?

Yahoo is known to be shopping itself around and Microsoft has been said to be among those kicking the tires. So that part of this story isn't new. But it seems that there's a contingent interested in making it known this week (for trial balloon reasons or perhaps other purposes) that Microsoft is definitely among the serious contenders.

Update: Unlike me, my colleague Larry Dignan thinks "Microhoo 2.0" makes sense.

Update No. 2: Bloomberg and others are claiming Microsoft is nowhere close to a Yahoo bid.

Topics: Operating Systems, Banking, Browser, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Software, Windows, 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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26 comments
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  • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

    Except for the Search, none of them makes sense for Microsoft as of now. You should consider Skype deal with this.
    pradeepviswav
    • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

      @pradeepviswav no even search. Search is already here. I still think it is extremely unlikely.
      jk_10
      • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

        @jk_10 Search is not necessarily there in the future if someone else buys yahoo.
        rmark@...
    • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

      @pradeepviswav

      Skype still has to pass EU yet
      Alan Smithie
  • Don't forget the Groups

    Get the Groups and the Mail to grow the eco-system.

    Signed,

    a Gmail user
    techvet
  • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

    Search, (syndicated) news, groups, mail, and messenger are all still hugely popular in my country. In fact Yahoo in general is still popular in here. They even bought Koprol, a local Indonesian location check-ins startup, last year and are actively expanding it to Malaysia and Vietnam. It's also pretty popular, alongside with Foursquare and Facebook Places.
    rahadyan
  • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

    Yahoo! Mail is by far the company's largest instant asset with millions of regular eyeballs for advertising. I've been using it since 1999 and for some reason I've just never felt the inclination to leave. Outside of fairly regular interface changes (for the web mail), I can't actually say Yahoo has ever done me wrong in any shape or fashion with mail, and I've never even had to upgrade to the Pro version.

    Contrast that with the numerous scares and hiccups Hotmail has had over the years, and I'd never consider being a Hotmail/Live mail customer again (I do also have a Gmail account).<br><br>Next up would definitely be Messenger, and finally Flickr... the rest is meh.
    Playdrv4me
    • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

      @Playdrv4me

      +1 Yahoo! mail
      Return_of_the_jedi
      • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

        @Return_of_the_jedi +1
        goombawa
    • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

      @Playdrv4me it would be a win-win for Microsoft. THey could do what the enjoy the most (reducing competition) and gain all those users information to sell. It is not like i do not get at least one spam email from <username>@hotmil.com/net
      Rick_Kl
    • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

      @Playdrv4me Yahoo mail is crap to me as you need to pay to use it with any email clients. Hopefully they'll add at least Outlook support of MS buy Yahoo.
      Aerowind
      • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

        @Aerowind

        All my Apple machines have ZERO trouble interacting with my Yahoo account via an IMAP protocol. I've never needed to pay for POP nor do I intend to.
        Playdrv4me
  • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

    <a href="http://www.myfikirler.com/hunca-life-ek-is-imkani.html" title="hunca life, huncalife">hunca life</a>You should consider Skype deal with this.
    bayilikler
  • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

    Microsoft is only interested in user information. They want it to sell to advertisers. Why do you think the Mobile phone OS sends data dumps back to Redmond? So they can sell that information to advertisers.
    Rick_Kl
    • You think Google is any different?

      @Rick_Kl

      Google is far worse. They actually ARE an ad and marketing company. Microsoft's primary revenue stream is still software. Google makes almost no money on anything that they create. What they sell is your personal data. You are the product, not the customer. The customer is the adspace buyers and marketing partners.
      Joe_Raby
    • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

      @Rick_Kl

      LMFAO!!

      Compared to Google, MS is an angel with user information.


      Flickr is Yahoo's only good service anymore.
      spaulagain2
      • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

        @spaulagain you keep believing that, if it helps you sleep through the night. Microsoft would sell its proverbial mother for a dollar, and make no mistake, to Microsoft you are only worth as much as they can sell your information for.
        Rick_Kl
  • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

    Probably the property worth the most at Yahoo is the parking lot ...
    terry flores
    • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

      @terry flores <br>+1. :D. Brilliant.
      Ram U
  • RE: Which parts of Yahoo (if any)would make sense for Microsoft to buy?

    Honestly, given how cheap Yahoo! is right now, I think it actually makes sense to buy them outright. I'm surprised there aren't lots of suitors lined up for the privilege. Yahoo!'s China investments alone almost justify the company; MS could sell the Alibaba bits and get back like two thirds of the asking price.
    x I'm tc