There is "lots of redundant development" going on at Microsoft and Yahoo, especially in the search and advertising arenas, according to Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie.
No kidding, say MicroHoo watchers. There's Microsoft adCenter and Yahoo's Panama; Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail; Live Search and Yahoo Search; Windows Live Spaces and
Picasa Flickr; and so on and so on.
But given that anything any Microsoft exec says that relates even remotely to Microsoft's $44 billion takeover target is being scrutinized with a fine-toothed comb, Mundie's remarks, made during an appearance on February 26 at the Goldman Sachs Tech Investment Symposium, took on more meaning.
Mundie suggested that components of some of these redundant technologies, particularly in advertising and search, could be "smushed together."
Mundie, who didn't discuss Microsoft's Yahoo bid until prompted by a Goldman analyst to address the "elephant in the room," echoed the Microsoft party lines: Microsoft wants Yahoo for not just its R&D talent, but also for its infrastructure and its various online services.
Mundie, who described his role at Microsoft as focusing on technologies and strategies that are "three to 20 years out," also told Goldman symposium participants that Microsoft isn't only looking at big acquisitions as key to its future.
"If we are buying the basis of our technology future, we are buying small (companies), Mundie said. Microsoft can integrate smaller firms more easily with its existing products, he said.
Mundie had more to say about Google in the course of his 45-minute talk.
"I don't think they (Google) can do anything we can't do," Mundie said. "They don't have access to any technologies we don't have access to."
Like other Microsoft execs, Mundie said Google was a one-trick pony dependent on a single line-of-business.
He added that "you could say they (Google) are sort of late to the cell phone thing."
"Other than by a screw up on our part," it would be hard to envision how any company, Google or otherwise, could come up with anything that would be truly disruptive to Microsoft's technology or business model, Mundie claimed. That kind of disruption would be far more likely from a venture-back startup, Mundie claimed.