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Will the Perception of Microsoft Change if they Acquire Yahoo?
Friday, May 02, 2008
Reputation is important to each and everyone of us, and for different reasons. So it would stand to reason that reputation is important to the Corporate world as well. Let us assume that this is the case with Microsoft.

We've all been reading stories about Microsoft (MSFT) and their attempt to acquire Yahoo (YHOO). (Don't even get me started on whether this is a good idea or not...) The fact is, as Search Engine Journal has pointed out, there are three options that Microsoft have when it comes to the Yahoo situation.
On Thursday during a meeting with staff, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that the company has three options available to them with regards to Yahoo, and that they would announce in “short order” which path they would decide to take. According to Ballmer, the three options available were to walk away, complete a negotiated deal, or pursue a hostile takeover.
Do you think that Steve Ballmer cares about what you or I think about Microsoft and whichever road they decide to take? Well he better, because depending on their chosen path, the perception that users have of Microsoft is liable to change. You see our perception, while it can be difficult to change can be easily influenced by corporations who neglect to factor in the feelings and opinions of the user.

What will happen to the perception of Microsoft if they follow through with one of these options? Let's look more closely at each of the options.

Microsoft Walks Away from the Deal

People's perception of Microsoft might be affected by thoughts such as this:
  • Microsoft's incompetence to close the deal
  • Microsoft inability to negotiate or willingness to negotiate
  • Microsoft looking for other options to improve their Search offering
  • Microsoft not wanting to sweeten the pot to get the deal done
  • Yahoo's stubbornness to negotiate with Microsoft
Microsoft and Yahoo Complete a Negotiated Deal
  • Both sides ability to work together to get a deal done
  • Microsoft's ability to think win win and work out a deal that benefits all parties with a vested interest
  • Apathy as the "here we go again, Microsoft can't beat them so they'll join them" as people see another example of Microsoft flexing their financial muscle to "takeover another company" to benefit themselves and not their users.
  • The deal is done and people wonder why Microsoft didn't put the money and resources in to improving their own Live search product as opposed to acquiring the number 2 player in the Search industry.
  • People think "big deal, Google is still the dominant force in Search"
Microsoft Pursue a Hostile Takeover

This option, which is probably the most likely course of action that Microsoft will take, may be the one option that affects people's perception of Microsoft the most. Think about how current Yahoo users, or employees will feel. Think about how current Microsoft employees will feel. There is liable to be some animosity towards each. Other may perceive Microsoft as:
  • Microsoft lacking patience
  • Microsoft trying to muscle in on Yahoo
  • Microsoft trying to kick Yahoo when Yahoo is down
  • Microsoft lacking the innovation to make their own Search product work, what makes them think that Micro-Hoo will work any better?
Yahoo is the most visited destination on the Web. No matter what analysts say, the current Microsoft offer for Yahoo hugely undervalues Yahoo. No matter what the outcome, you can expect many people's perception of Microsoft to change.... for better or for worse. My personal perception of Microsoft is leaning to worse. The Internet needs a Yahoo, I'm not so sure if the Internet needs a Micro-Hoo.

Labels:

posted by Jody @ Friday, May 02, 2008  
1 Comments:
  • At 4:09 PM, Blogger Rob said…

    I think there will be some users who do leave yahoo if Microsoft buys them just because they are anti-M$ however in large part the average user doesn't care.

    It is unfortunate because a yahoo microsoft deal in my opinion would be bad for yahoo and it's users but by the time yahoo's users figure that out it'll be too late.

    That being said, a hostile takeover attempt will take some time - perhaps there will be enough time for yahoo to circle the wagons (s to speak) and woo another (or many) partnerships with others such as News corp, AOL, Google and more.

     
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