As I write this, Microsoft has just announced an offer to acquire Yahoo. Early responses from the likes of Danny Sullivan, Henry Blodget, the Download Squad, TechCrunch, Raven SEO, Mashable, and others seem to boil down to:
- Both sides needed it.
- Yahoo wasn’t going anywhere fast on its own.
- Microsoft wasn’t going anywhere fast in search on its own.
- This may be enough critical mass to matter.
- Conference call at 8:30 am
I’ll try to be a bit more analytical than that, but this is still going to be quick. Assuming the deal goes through:
- Microsoft will recombine both parts of the old FAST/alltheweb.com Therefore, Microsoft will be able to use the same technology for web and enterprise search, to the extent that such commonality makes sense.
- I’d expect Microsoft to try to differentiate its technology via faceted/structured search. That’s a FAST strength.
- The old FAST search-as-BI dream might become pretty appealing to Microsoft/Yahoo.
- In a non-search point, Microsoft is strong in games and Yahoo is strong in fantasy sports. Look for some synergies.
- There sure would be a whole lot of non-Windows technology inside Microsoft.
Basically, Microsoft is a company that’s a lot more sophisticated in its thinking about user interfaces and experiences than Yahoo is. That’s where the really interesting competitive innovation would be most likely to occur.