Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Where the Chickens Would Come Home to Roost, If Yahoo and Microsoft Ever Did Do a Search Deal

In Yahoo’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call earlier this week, new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz went out of her way to ho-hum all over the possibility of a search deal with Microsoft.

She even went as far as to not even mention its name when she referred to the laggard third player in market share.

And Bartz also tried to make it seem as if a recent meeting between Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock–as well as Time Warner (TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes, who presides over the AOL online service–was fiction. (It was not.)

Of course, it was all cooked up and well-rehearsed by Bartz, who knows how to play the expectations game as well as anyone else, especially as she endeavors to come up to speed on the various prospects for Yahoo going forward.

One person who has been close to the situation said it best: “Anyone would have said the same regardless of their true position at this point.”

Indeed.

Of course, BoomTown’s favorite–and obviously well thought out–line was in answer to an analyst’s question on shareholder value. No surprise: Bartz insisted Yahoo as a whole was, in fact, an unappreciated pearl before swine.

Actually, she used another barnyard metaphor, in the grand tradition of former CEO Jerry Yang’s “sacred cow” debacle.

“This is not a company that needs to be pulled apart and left for the chickens,” said Bartz, using a phrase she said was from her Wisconsin upbringing.

My guess is that the savvy and slick Bartz left that farm behind a long, long time ago and was again using the folksy straight talk in some serious gamesmanship with Microsoft (MSFT) and anyone else.

And perhaps Yahoo (YHOO) is truly not chicken scratch, although a lot of horse sense will be needed in the next few months to make that so.

(No, I could not resist.)

And, employing a video I love, if Bartz ever does succumb to the charms of Microsoft, here’s what the pair might hope that flock of attack poultry would peck at next:


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google