Microsoft bids on Yahoo

Yes, I can’t believe it either, it’s happened, it’s real, it’s not a dream. Microsoft is offering Yahoo shareholders $44.6 billion to buy them out. The offer is tempting because it’s way more than Yahoo currently is worth. Now, you may also be wondering why do I care.

Yahoo has over the last couple of years been a pretty good web standards citizen. In the past they along with Microsoft have been responsible for a fair amount of shoddy HTML. Their design work, by the way, has always been pretty good. Their style is very American and exceedingly boring but the UI and information flow was and is way up there with the best of them.
These days Yahoo has done some nice work on the front-end side of their business. In an effort to catch Google’s run-a-way train they’ve been very good at reconstructing their web app business to benefit from web standards and the upsurge users opting for more modern browsers like Firefox. Well, okay, just Firefox then. Safari hasn’t done badly either, but glory goes to Mozilla’s little browser that could.
Now, Microsoft has, I must admit, done some nice work upgrading their web browser Internet Explorer (IE). The rest of their web related work has been a bit of a let down. They still have tendency to focus on their own technology first and worry about the others later. Not exactly what you’d expect from a company still trying to get grips with web services. Yahoo on the other hand has done rather well. Flickr as a notable flag-barer for modern web applications. Their portal with webmail and groups has also come along in leaps and bounds. Even better than what Google has done of late. Yahoo has also been cleaver at sharing some of their front-end libraries and tools. Their CSS reset, the ext.js library they’ve spun off, their pretty nifty compressor and other tools have been helping others making the web an easier and better medium to work in.

This will all change if Microsoft’s bid is accepted. No more openness, no more sharing, no more cool stuff, no more innovation. It was too good to last. Damn.

Update: There’s a lot of chatter about how Microsoft is going to live with such an open source orientated company. They’re so different in so many ways. In this light it seems like a pretty desperate move by Microsoft. Playing catch-up is a bitch.

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