Microsoft: A Thousand Times No

May 8, 2008

And it was thus decreed that the messengers of Steve Ballmer were sent far across the land to say No to an alliance with the kingdom of Yahoo:
“Yahoo could always come back again and say please buy us for $33 (a share) and I’m sure we might reconsider it, but we’re not assuming that’s going to happen,” Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Office Craig Mundie to Reuters in Jakarta, May 8. 

“The conclusion was reached that we should pursue our independent path,” Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates in Tokyo, May 7.    
“The key decisions on that will be made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who took a look at Yahoo and decided that, on our own, he likes the stuff that we’re doing,” Gates in Seoul, May 6.

“We decided to move on and basically withdraw our offer …. Absolutely, that’s the end of the story. We are moving on because our strategy is very clear,” Microsoft International President Jean-Philippe Courtois to Reuters in London, May 6.

The globe-trotting Microsoft messengers have yet to fully convince Yahoo shareholders of their sincerity, since investors have propped the stock up to nearly $26 despite the break-up of talks over the weekend. That’s well below Microsoft’s last offer for $33 per share, but still perched higher than the $19-level, where Yahoo traded before the takeover offer was made public on Feb. 1.

Maybe shareholders are mindful of Microsoft’s last world tour in April, when Ballmer hopscotched through Morocco, Italy and Belgium saying there was no way he would raise his initial offer of $31 for Yahoo. Two weeks, and two dollars per share later, Yahoo is still waiting.

Keep an eye on:

* Rupert Murdoch says News Corp is feeling the squeeze on advertising budgets due to a weakened U.S. economy; the company’s division that includes MySpace will likely miss a $1 billion annual revenue goal by 10 percent. (Reuters)

* Warner Music Group’s quarterly loss comes in worse than expected and the company suspends its dividend to raise cash and cut debt. (Reuters)

* NBC Universal is starting a 24-hour local news network in New York, in what could be the first of several such channels around the country, to help weather a weak local TV advertising market. (WSJ)
Photo: Reuters

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Great to see that cool heads have finally prevailed at Microsoft. Nevertheless, it was a seriously missed opportunity by Yahoo shareholders.  /05/yahoos-board-and-its-shareholders.h tml

They should have been more vocal. Now it’s too late. Their board did not serve them well.

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