Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

MicroHoo: Weekend Warrior?


First off, let’s hope Microsoft doesn’t ruin everyone’s weekend again by starting a proxy war against Yahoo on Saturday.

I mean, who ever started a really good geek slapdown on a Saturday?

Yet, this Saturday is the day that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has picked as his self-imposed deadline, before starting his effort to take Yahoo by force if necessary and at a lower price than first offered, as he said he would in a letter to the Yahoo board almost three weeks ago.

But sources close to Microsoft (MSFT) said it is likely the company hopes to make some sort of move–starting truly significant negotiations with Yahoo (YHOO), perhaps–before that.

Nonetheless, several added, it will probably not include raising the price of its unsolicited bid for the troubled Internet portal quite yet.

“It will be the last weapon in the arsenal and things have not reached that point yet,” said one person familiar with Microsoft’s thinking.

One might ask exactly when–if ever–that point is, of course.

Currently, the cash-and-stock $31-per-share offer has remained worth less than when it was offered, given Microsoft’s stock price has declined since it began its pursuit of Yahoo.

But the company is probably hoping its own strong quarterly report–Microsoft releases its quarterly earnings report tomorrow–will raise the value of the deal back to original, if not higher, levels.

If that does not happen and in the absence of substantive negotiations with Yahoo, sources said, expect Microsoft to indicate that it would delay any actions until Monday.

A range of options is on the table apparently, although Microsoft execs are aware major Yahoo shareholders would be less cooperative if the company lowered its bid price as an opening gambit.

So, standing pat and initiating the proxy fight by taking its case directly to shareholders and moving to oust the board is the likeliest scenario.

That’s because, argue some familiar with Microsoft’s thinking, while Yahoo’s results yesterday were considered solid by Wall Street, they were not impressive enough to force Microsoft into paying a higher price.


Even before the results were announced, Ballmer was sounding that noisy horn: “I wish Yahoo all the success with its results, but it doesn’t affect the value of Yahoo to Microsoft.”

He also insinuated Microsoft could walk, noting the company was “prepared to move forward alone without Yahoo.”

In military terms, that’s called spreading FUD–fear, uncertainty and doubt.

But, in this convoluted and cartoonish stalemate, I like to call it Elmer Fudd.

Oh, those pesky Wahoos! Check out Digital Daily’s “Kill the Yahoo!” mashup below.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus