Fake Steve Jobs on the Microsoft-Yahoo merger

Fake Steve Jobs (Dan Lyons) has a great analogy of the pending Microsoft-Yahoo merger:

The Borg-Yahoo merger won’t work. Here’s why. It’s like taking the two guys who finished second and third in a 100-yard dash and tying their legs together and asking for a rematch, believing that now they’ll run faster.

The bizarre thing is that Steve Ballmer gave this analogy to Lyons about 10 years ago at a conference.

Try and find a story about anyone who is eager to see this merger take place. Nobody wants it, including a lot of Microsoft employees. I can’t see these two giants working together. The culture and philosophy of the two companies are polar opposites.

There is the hope that if Microsoft purchases Yahoo, that they’ll leave it alone. I like the scenario that John Gruber suggests:

But what if Microsoft does the unexpected and keeps Yahoo separate and distinct? On a vastly smaller scale, that’s what Microsoft has done with its Mac Business Unit. Microsoft created the Mac BU in the wake of Word 6 for Mac, which was, more or less, a direct port to the Mac of the Windows version of Word — and almost universally abhorred by Mac users. To succeed on the Mac, Microsoft needed a (relatively) independent Mac division, and so that’s what they created. Yahoo could be Microsoft’s independent web division.

Back in 1997 when Apple was floundering, Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple and signed a 5 year deal to continue development on Microsoft Office for Macintosh. Microsoft might have been able to purchase Apple back then but they knew it would never work (they also needed a competitor to keep the government off their back).

If Microsoft goes through with the takeover then I hope they leave Yahoo as separate division that can continue to innovate and thrive. If Microsoft took over Apple in 1997 then we probably wouldn’t have iPods and iPhones. I can’t help wonder what will die and never come to light if Microsoft attempts to assimilate the Yahoo!

Posted in Web at 9:34 PM