Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

More MicroHoo News! (Some Actually New, Too)

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Tonight, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters had nearly identical stories, noting that Microsoft (MSFT) was interested in buying Yahoo’s (YHOO) search business, which–oh, we bloggers get so touchy when we don’t get even a smidgen of credit, don’t we?–BoomTown speculated was just what the software giant was interested in yesterday.

Wrote BoomTown on Sunday afternoon:

Will Microsoft now just buy Yahoo’s search business instead of the whole company?…The software giant would not give details, but sources at both companies speculated to BoomTown that it involved Microsoft buying Yahoo’s search business and the ad business related to text-based ads, or doing another kind of transaction that would bring the companies closer together to fight Google (GOOG)… Indeed, given that Microsoft, in its long-running war with archrival Google, it wants most of all to grab Yahoo’s search ad business to become a credible No. 2 in the important sector. It could do this via a purchase of those assets or, said others, formulate a deal to be Yahoo’s exclusive search partner.”

And wrote Reuters tonight:

Microsoft Corp. has proposed to buy Yahoo Inc.’s search business and take a minority stake in the Web pioneer, stopping short of a full-out merger, a person familiar with the discussions said on Monday… The new deal, if completed, would forge an alliance between the two companies that would represent an alternative means of competing with rival Google Inc., whose ubiquitous search engine has made it an online advertising powerhouse.”

Said The Journal in its new report, after focusing on a simpler Microsoft-Yahoo outsourcing deal Sunday, also tonight:

Microsoft Corp.’s proposed alternative to acquiring Yahoo Inc. would involve a break-up of the Internet giant that people close to Yahoo said is unlikely to win favor with its board. In recent days, Microsoft floated a proposal to acquire Yahoo’s search-advertising business, said people familiar with the matter… Microsoft’s proposal didn’t offer much detail on how it would structure a search-ad deal, the people said. But the plan would likely involve Microsoft’s selling the ads that appear alongside Web-search results delivered to Yahoo users; that could help it gain on Google, the search-ad-market leader.

To be fair, both Reuters’ and The Journal’s reports make such a plan by Microsoft even more definitive and have interesting new details, which are intriguing.

They include:

Both take note of Microsoft’s proposed sale of Yahoo’s Asian assets (worth close to $10 billion, according to the same analyst cited by both reports, who also puts a $21 billion value on Yahoo’s search ad business).

Reuters underscores that billionaire investor Carl Icahn is not pleased with the idea of a partial sale of Yahoo to Microsoft and might side with a Google outsourcing deal, if that came to pass.

And The Journal stressed that Yahoo’s board, which thinks it is all a Microsoft ploy to scotch a possible search-ad outsourcing deal with Google, was also unimpressed with Microsoft’s ideas.

More new news too from Om Malik at GigaOm, who gets hold of yet another Microsoft exec’s memo to the troops.

Yesterday, it was a “leaked” memo from Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft’s Platforms & Services division.

Today, one from Satya Nadella, its VP of Search. In the memo, Nadella outlines some minor management re-orging, but mostly talks somewhat opaquely about where search is going (no wonder Microsofties are confused as to what direction to take!).

Money quote:

One of the clear themes that emerged from my discussions was the need to build depth of expertise and focus on both the media and technology side and connect the two via common purpose and vision. The other major theme was to create an organization that wherever possible helped drive global and cross network capability, while always enabling and empowering the local aspects of our media business. Lastly it’s imperative that we set up for blurring of the lines between Portal and Search to drive experiences that enable more seamless exploration of content across the search-browse continuum. We want the combined expertise of the team to drive this innovation and also create more scale with vertical efforts.”

A free lunch at AllThingsD.com HQ–come to my house, walk through the kitchen to the cottage in the back–for anyone who can explain this in easy-to-understand words to BoomTown!

Added challenge: Nadella can enter the contest too!

And, finally, don’t miss this report by TechCrunch about former Yahoo Chairman and CEO Terry Semel’s appearance at a conference in Israel on a stellar panel with Google’s Sergey Brin, Yahoo’s current President Sue Decker, News Corp. (NWS) head Rupert Murdoch and well-known Israeli entrepreneur Yossi Vardi.

All I can say is ouch at some of the translated highlights.


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— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle