MSFT and YHOO – Is EVERYONE missing the obvious?

February 5, 2008

So it’s been a few days since Microsoft announced their offer to purchase Yahoo, and since then there’s been endless speculation on motivations and possible outcomes.

Except nowhere have I seen the obvious conclusion, which means I’m either a complete moron, or some sort of freak genius. And I’m not betting on the latter, but wanted to get this out there first just in case I happen to be right.

If you look at all the issues MSFT will face in assimilating YHOO (sorry, couldn’t resist that one) a couple seem to be repeated over and over: culture differences and technology differences.

YHOO runs a large part of their infrastructure on BSD. To an engineer used to working in that sort of environment, porting to a Windows stack would be, to say the least, painful – unappetizing to the point a career chance would be in order – there go all those developers that SteveB wants so badly.

On the other hand, MSFT can’t afford to have a large part of their infrastructure running on something that isn’t Windows – you know, dogfood and all that stuff. And while all this is going on, there’s that wonderful success known as Vista.

So what’s the obvious answer to the dilemma?

Simple – Microsoft needs to do what they’ve always done in the past: copy from someone else, in this case Apple.

Gut the Windows OS, port the GUI and Win32 API to run on top of BSD, and there’s the solution to the takeover, dog food, and by the way fixes the whole Vista mess.

Seriously, is there another company in the world that MSFT could buy that has the experience and expertise with BSD that YHOO has? And if you’re a BSD expert, is there anything in the world that would be a bigger, more rewarding challenge than putting Windows out of everyone’s misery?

I mean, it can’t just be about eyeballs, can it?