Microsoft has moved to buy Yahoo! for $44 billion, the next logical question to ask concerns what this means for users and lovers of technology.Presuming you've seen the news that
If its business analysis you're looking for, go read Paul Kedrosky. Here at ReadWriteWeb we focus more on the cultural impact of innovation in technology. On that front, I think this acquisition could be very good news.
It's going to validate a lot of innovation at Yahoo! Many people, including Microsoft on the conference call early this morning about the news, are focusing on what this means for advertising and for search. Since when is Yahoo! particularly good at either of those things, though? Yahoo! has created a web presence with more traffic than almost anyone else on earth. That's what they are good at and the issue is that they haven't been able to make money off of it.
Yahoo! is great at content and online innovation, though. That's what Microsoft needs right now. Google is posing a threat to Microsoft not just because it is winning in advertising, where Microsoft is a relative beginner, but because Google is shifting the software world to online.
Microsoft is serious about innovation, they just haven't been doing much of it in house for awhile. The Live.com work and the Microsoft acquisitions in the health space indicate to me the company really is trying to do more than just catch up in search and advertising.
I think that this acquisition is going to mean a whole lot more energy put behind services like Flickr and Del.icio.us and innovative content sites like Yahoo! Sports and Finance. All of that will be good for Microsoft and it will be good for those of us who find those sites and services inspiring.
It's hard to know what the impact of layoffs will be, or if the Death Star culture of Microsoft will quash a lot of the Yahoo! spirit, but it's going to be a huge company and I'm hoping we will see some very cool things come out of it.