Eileen beat me to the punch on this one. I am excited by this announcement because some of my favorite sites on the Internet are Yahoo properties such as Flickr and Upcoming. I also hope that that certain technologies die off like Yahoo messenger. Here are few thoughts that have been swirling in my head for the last few hours.
The most interesting issue I see with this acquisition is that Yahoo is a FreeBSD shop and is a big player providing platform neutral services. Yahoo strongly supports, IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera and SeaMonkey in almost all properties. Combine that with their excellent widget technology from Konfabulator, which works on OS X and Windows, and we have some serious questions to answer around platform support.
Already the Internet is buzzing that Microsoft will de-emphasize other platforms moving forward. I disagree strongly. The number one reason today that Microsoft hasn’t been as successful, in my opinion, in supporting other platforms is simply due to resources. Quality people are hard to come by. When you are innovating, you tend to only focus on your own ecosystem. Clearly, Microsoft is changing this perception with technologies like Silverlight, which run on Windows, Apple, and Linux, as well as improved support for Safari in our Live services, Exchange, and SharePoint technologies. Furthermore, one only has too look at IIS 7’s plug-in architecture in Windows Server 2008 to realize that we are fundamentally changing as a culture.
The integration of culture is another issue as Yahoo’s culture has degraded to that of a culture of suits and heavy-handed management. I don’t think I’ve ever met a happy Yahoo employee, and I’ve met a dozen or so. Becoming culturally stagnant when you are a company built upon innovation is the most detrimental thing that can happen. Microsoft, for all its public criticisms, is a fantastic place to work filled with opportunity all over the world. I wonder how the Yahoo employees feel about this. Every employee at Microsoft that I have spoken with is nothing short of excited. An announcement like this really exercises the right-brain. Also, now that I think about it, if this deal goes through, I might have a shot at a dream job — working for Microsoft in a corporate setting in Sunnyvale at Yahoo’s campus…no offense Redmond, I’m just not at that stage of my life yet.