Microsoft + Yahoo Search + Facebook = MS Midlife Crisis

There’s too much blather and ferment about how a Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo’s search business combined with a subsequent Microsoft acquisition of Facebook would result in the “end of the open web.”

In actuality, such a scenario would only involve the transfer of considerable wealth from Microsoft’s shareholders to Yahoo’s shareholders, followed by a similar exchange of wealth from Microsoft’s shareholders to Facebook’s backers.

It wouldn’t result in the “end of the open web.” Instead, I suspect it would represent the beginning of the end for Facebook as a social phenomenon and the absolute end of its prospects as a commercial entity.

As for Microsoft, the company would incur an enormous opportunity cost. Resources that Microsoft could have spent on software-as-service for the enterprise, where it actually has a fighting chance of consolidating gains and making money, would be squandered on web-search and social-networking pipe dreams. It would emerge a relative loser in both markets.

It’s as if Microsoft doesn’t know itself anymore. The company can’t seem to distinguish its strengths from its weaknesses. Surely somebody as savvy as Bill Gates must know the adage about throwing good money after bad, something he has seldom done previously.

Microsoft just seems delusional these days. It’s as if the entire executive team is undergoing a collective midlife crisis. The only difference is, in Microsoft’s misguided bid to remain relevant and vital, it’s neurotically buying companies rather than sports cars.

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