Skip Navigation

Microsoft buying Yahoo

Travel Forums Off Topic Microsoft buying Yahoo

Page
  • 1
  • 2

Last Post

1. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Okay, for us web geeks and number crunchers this is kind of a big deal! Microsoft has just put in a bid to take over Yahoo. The official press release can be found here

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Anyone still using Yahoo or Microsoft for search?

Personally I'm happy if this goes through, even as an apple guy. Google needs some competition and this seems like the best option for both these companies to really get their act together!

2. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 8y

This makes me really sad. Yahoo! has been emerging over these last couple of years as a leader in really getting the web. They've bought all the right companies (flickr, del.icio.us, zimbra, etc) for a truly interesting "web 2.0" lineup (I don't use them myself, but this is solely because of their stupid unified accounts - if it wasn't for that, I'd be the biggest fan of them all), and have done a lot of good for the internet at large. Their YUI toolkit is the most useful JavaScript toolkit by far (I choose to use it each and every time), with absolutely superb documentation (both API-wise and code-level, where especially this last is usually lacking), and they've set it up in such a way that you really can only use what you need, rather than getting the whole bloated mess as happens with so many other toolkits.
Plus of course it's open source. I expect it to be the first thing that Microsoft will kill off if the acquisition goes through (still holding out some hope that it won't). That won't take away our ability to use it, of course, and undoubtedly it'll continue to be developed - but it won't have the absolutely stellar team behind it anymore that Yahoo! assembled.
In general they've really been pushing web standards (they have a very impressive "training academy"specifically for front-end engineers) and are involved in a host of good projects to promote web standards. (Unlike Microsoft who're pushing Silverlight for all that they're worth, trying to lock up the web in proprietary technology again, at the same time as trying to stall progress with their stupid <meta> proposal.)

Yahoo! has also been the non-evil alternative to Google (with their massive privacy problems) and Microsoft (with their massive evilness in general).

Yes, I get that Microsoft is doing this because of search and advertising - and it makes sense from that perspective. But the casualties that will result from this IMO make up the largest part of Yahoo!'s worth. Yahoo! has gathered so much goodwill right at the fronteers of the internet - and all that will be going down the drain if this acquisition goes through. :( (I expect an exodus of truly epic proportions from Yahoo! mail and Flickr once Microsoft starts to make its influence felt. Especially the former. Anyone remember what hotmail was like before Microsoft bought it?)

Truly a sad day.

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 1, 2008, at 7:58 AM by Sander ]

3. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Good points Sander. Of course the way Yahoo was going they were likely to be gone in 5 years giving Google (who is pretty evil in a lot of ways) free reign. I prefer a decent size real competitor to Google (and vice versa) to keep them both in check so I definitely don't see this as a loss for the web.

I also prefer to see good in the possibility that Microsoft is actually partly doing this so they will 'get' the web in the way Yahoo does and rather incorporate the good Yahoo has done rather than waltz right over them. Only time will tell but with Google controlling more and more of users data it's a much bigger privacy worry than Microsoft to me. I think we'll still have to look to smaller companies for the real innovations that make up web 2.0/3.0, like flickr et al. Who knows, maybe Yahoo will even get Microsoft to adopt standards in IE LOL

4. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

The deal is not yet final either of course, but there is a good chance it will go through since they're paying about a 50% premium on yesterday's share price.

5. Posted by beerman (Respected Member 1631 posts) 8y

OK, please forgive a simple beermeister from the sticks........why is Google bad? I mean, besides being an ever-growing conglomerate of stinkin' rich boys who have more information at their disposal than God or Bill Gates.......

Google is trying to do the "green" thing by funding such things as thin-film solar cells which can produce electricity for 1/10th the price of conventional cells and become an affordable alternative to fossil fuel usage. Mind you, they may try to corrupt that, but.....

So again.....why are they any more evil than Microsoft or Yahoo or the Bush Administration? Is it all code stuff??

6. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 8y

Google does a lot of non-evil things, but the core of their mission statement is to "gather all the world's information". This includes - and it often seems to be the only thing they focus on - all the private information of its users. Rather than uncoupling their various services, they are integrating them ever more tightly, being able to relate your activities to each other, being able to track you wherever you go on the internet.
There's a lot of private information about people revealed through what they search for. Google explicitly saved this information for a long time (used to be eternally, now (after massive outcry) it's on the order of a year or two - but that's only for individual searches; during that time they can withdraw all the actual information from those searches, and that aggregated information is still retained eternally). Then they have your email (even if you don't use gmail yourself, you undoubtedly communicate with dozens of people who do) - which they index for key words. They have your google maps searches - centered around your home, almost certainly - often with your specific address included in the majority of searches. They have advertising - appearing on a near infinite number of websites - through which they know that you visited those websites. They have google analytics, which gives really shiny graphs to the webmaster using that service (this being a really large number of webmasters) - and again gives them information about the visitors of that website. They recently bought doubleclick - the most evil advertising company ever, which has through its tracking cookies gathered an insane amount of information about which people visited which websites. So google now doesn't only have information about which websites people are currently visiting, but they bought the last decade of visits from these same people, too, and controlling both, they can relate them to each other.

Maybe they currently aren't yet relating all of these individual pieces of information to each other. But whenever people request guarantees that they never won't, they are stonewalled. The google privacy policies don't offer any hope at all. We don't know anything about internal google policies and safeguards protecting this data. Chances are that any googler with database access can find out anything they want about anyone. And given this massive hoard of information (they know who you are, where you live, what your interests are, who your friends are - not as abstract needles of data amongst one gigantic haystack, but rather as bitesized pieces of knowledge, indexed any which way to be trivially found and digested), do you really believe that security agencies the world over aren't requesting access as often as they can?
gmail used to be hosted on a separate domain, so that login cookies wouldn't be shared, and you could use the service without it being related to your web searches. That went away.
ask.com has a toggle which means your searches won't be stored. Google has been asked again and again to provide something similar, without any result.

And then I'm not even mentioning the really scary bits yet, like the medical information systems they're working on, and which they'll undoubtedly be pushing heavily. Can we trust our doctors to not blindly input all our private information? With a bit of luck there'll be policies to first ask for permission from the patients. But will people realize the consequences, even if they actually notice the specific checkbox for this amongst the dozens of forms they have to fill out? Most people aren't information security experts. They shouldn't have to be. Companies should do the right thing for them, should protect privacy unless explicitly granted leave not to. But it's not in their best interest to do so, and thus...

Again, google does a lot of good (open source and open standards funding, green energy, etc, etc), and has some of the best services out there. I use them, and am glad for their existence. But google has shown a complete and total disregard for any issue relating to privacy, and this has only grown worse and worse with each subsequent service they've rolled out. I don't know if it's their mindset or what, but they just aren't willing to acknowledge the problems and the risks, nor to offer even the most trivial of tools to allow individual people to mitigate these risks for themselves.

And so, yeah... they're not more evil than Microsoft, Sony, ExxonMobil or the Bush administration. But they're vastly more evil than Yahoo! - or at least there's vastly more reason to be concerned about Google than about Yahoo! - simply because Yahoo! doesn't have as wide a reach, doesn't have as much impact, isn't used as much by most people.

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 2, 2008, at 11:00 AM by Sander ]

7. Posted by beerman (Respected Member 1631 posts) 8y

Hmmmm, ok.......got me there.

Hopefully the boys have enough morality to control themselves in the future, and with any luck, they're not giving Echelon all the info they have. Data mining is indeed a slippery slope.

I wonder what's going to happen when they succeed in obtaining the rights to the new bandwidth spectrum they bid on, and the new era of cell phones and connectivity that will be available in the very near future.

I hope it's not too late to unsubscribe to Chestwigs Monthly.....

8. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

The other thing is that because of the size and importance of Google for website owners, they pretty much 'own' the entire web. This effectively means that what google tells webmasters to do becomes the 'law' and is in effect a type of censorship. Google has a HUGE influence on what the public sees, more so than any government out there and that's a scary thought to a lot of people.

There's rumours right now that News Corp might come up with a bid to rival Microsoft's. More likely is that there is a counter offer from private equity firms wanting to take Yahoo private again (this seems to have the boards preference). Either way it looks like the days of Yahoo as we know it are counted.

9. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4811 posts) 8y

Quoting Sam I Am

There's rumours right now that News Corp might come up with a bid to rival Microsoft's. More likely is that there is a counter offer from private equity firms wanting to take Yahoo private again (this seems to have the boards preference). Either way it looks like the days of Yahoo as we know it are counted.

News corp would suck - they're way up there in the evil category. Though I guess they are less likely to crush Yahoo!'s open source efforts, which'd mean I'd vastly prefer this over the Microsoft option.
Private equity firms will mean a big unknown, but otherwise basically the same reasoning can be applied.

I'd call either alternative a qualified win.

  • crosses fingers*

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 3, 2008, at 4:18 AM by Sander ]

10. Posted by Sam I Am (Admin 5588 posts) 8y

Quoting Sander

News corp would suck - they're way up there in the evil category. Though I guess they are less likely to crush Yahoo!'s open source efforts, which'd mean I'd vastly prefer this over the Microsoft option.
Private equity firms will mean a big unknown, but otherwise basically the same reasoning can be applied.

I'd call either alternative a qualified win.

  • crosses fingers*

I'm pretty sure we're going to see a flurry of activity in this area come this week. It's set to start off with a Steve Ballmer conference call tomorrow morning 5AM PST.... Seeing as this is more or less a hostile takeover, Yahoo will definitely be looking at other alternatives I'd say. Going to be interesting :)