Danny [Sullivan] and I just got off the Microsoft conference call. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said at the outset, “This is a decision I’ve thought long and hard about. This is the right path for Microsoft and it’s the right path for Yahoo.” Ballmer added that “a year ago the Yahoo management team told us it wasn’t really the right time to discuss an acquisition.” Microsoft obviously feels that now is the right time, especially as the Yahoo stock has weakened (though now it’s up because of the offer).
The discussion and tone on the call made it sound like the deal was farther along than it actually is. The bid is unsolicited and Microsoft acknowledged that other companies may enter the negotiation. However, Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith opined that Google would not be one of them because “it controls 75 percent of search” worldwide and anti-trust regulations would preclude Google from bidding. That had the sound of a very calculated chess move.
The rest of this post is at SEL.