The rumour mill has started turning around Yahoo once after Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba (the global commerce powerhouse 40% owned by Yahoo) stated his interest in acquiring the internet dinosaur outright a couple of days ago. Now it seems Microsoft are reconsidering a bid for the embattled web portal after being rebuffed back in 2008.
Microsoft sees some major synergies between the two companies’ online efforts – claiming that they could save a combined company up to $1 billion. Indeed, there is a lot of overlap between the two – both offer popular portals as Yahoo and MSN, both offer very popular email services as Yahoo Mail and Hotmail, and Microsoft already powers Yahoo’s search and advertising businesses. They are, however, old rivals back from the early days of the internet where yahoo! was the plucky upstart of geeks that was organising the web (before Google came on the scene) and Microsoft was the corporate beast trying to muscle in on their territory – and the cost of integrating the services may be huge. The userbases of both Yahoo Mail and Hotmail are in the tens of millions alone – integration on such scale is tricky at best.
One thing that is certain is that Yahoo needs some direction as it continues to lose top executives to Google and Facebook and the innovation stagnation over the last decade has not helped their cause. They have recently announced they are commissioning some original video series for Yahoo Video which sees them move more into the content business – a very competitive space – but at least that is movement.