Analyst: Nokia should buy Yahoo

The endless to-ing and fro-ing over a potential Microsoft buyout of Yahoo has, I must confess, got me to the stage of sticking my fingers in my ears and humming loudly.The latest news, following Jerry Yang's announcement that he would step down as Yahoo chief, is of course Steve Ballmer saying Microsoft is "done with all acquisition discussions with Yahoo".

The endless to-ing and fro-ing over a potential Microsoft buyout of Yahoo has, I must confess, got me to the stage of sticking my fingers in my ears and humming loudly.

The latest news, following Jerry Yang's announcement that he would step down as Yahoo chief, is of course Steve Ballmer saying Microsoft is "done with all acquisition discussions with Yahoo". Case definitively closed, unless Ballmer's words are yet another tiresome gambit in this neverending story.

So, what should Yahoo do? I went to a briefing with the company last week, prior to Yang's announcement, and they had all sorts of cool stuff to show off. They really do seem to be making headway with their plans to integrate their services and introduce a proper social element to the whole Yahoo stable. Of course, this may be subject to change once the new chief comes in, but the company sure has a lot to offer right now.

Over to Ovum analyst Tony Cripps, who has an interesting proposal - Nokia should "pounce". Spake Tony:

The mobile handset giant is intent on becoming a major web player in its own right and Ovi (the umbrella for its web applications and services), as we see it today, is only the start. There's a clear imperative coming from Espoo for Nokia to become part of the fabric of the Internet and not just to build on the foundations laid by others. ... Nokia's mobile-centric viewpoint on the Web is an important, nay vital, one. But one, nonetheless, where established web players are liable to outpace it simply by enveloping mobile and other domains as a natural part of their expansion. Indeed, Google already is, while others - including Microsoft (through MSN and Windows Live) and even AOL - are beginning to execute on this reality. ... Yahoo's convergence story, however, is perhaps the strongest. The company has quietly put together a compelling, yet grounded, approach to extending its brand value and influence beyond the desktop, to mobile and consumer electronics, through initiatives such as Yahoo! Go, oneConnect, Blueprint and Widget Engine.

Cripps also points out that Yahoo has a "major brand in the US", which is something Nokia has thus far failed to manage itself. He ends up calling Yahoo "a bargain, if not actually cheap".

It's what my colleague Colin Barker has termed "lateral thinking". Too lateral? I don't know. But it's certainly worth considering. And it's certainly refreshing to hear someone suggest a suitor for Yahoo that is not based in Redmond or, for that matter, the US.