The year opened with two major items regarding Yahoo. The first involves Microsoft, the second, MTV.
The LATimes, yes, the same publication that made a false start on rumours of Google computers, is reporting that Microsoft made an offer to buy Yahoo for $80 – $90 Billion. This is another thing that probably never happened. While highly unlikely, the rumour does shed light on a particular problem Yahoo and Microsoft both share, they want the same things but a common threat stands in the way, Google.
Yahoo is trying to become the primary online entertainment provider, a meta-network surpassing satellite broadcasting in range and choice. Yahoo is rumoured to be interested in buying Viacom, owner of MTV and a number of other mainstream media content creators. Along with their partnerships with music labels, other TV networks, and movie distributors, the purchase of Viacom would put Yahoo far beyond Google and Microsoft in the field of digital home entertainment.
Microsoft wants to continue to be the biggest thing ever and to do that; it needs to remain the operating system of choice in a rapidly changing world. To stay #1 means providing consumers with what they need, something both Google and Yahoo are almost but not quite capable of doing on their own.
The obvious piece of speculation, aside from the erroneous assumption they might buy Yahoo is an offer to partner up with Barry Diller at Ask Jeeves. On their own, Diller’s IAC has not yet capitalized on the potential of the fourth most popular search engine, MSN’s adCenter might have the technology and clout they need to even hope to compete against Google.