The following consists of my opinion alone and is not reflective of Yahoo!’s corporate stance:
Seriously. Let’s remind ourselves of a few things:
1) Yahoo!’s previous captain was tasked to make a portal into a media company. That turned out to be a bad idea.
2) He then tried to focus on technology he knew nothing about. Equally bad idea. He then stuck around too long while pulling down an outrageous salary and surrounding himself with folks that also never really knew what to do. Even worse ideas.
3) New CEO/Founder takes control. A guy who is tech focused, deeply gets the web and how folks use it, and someone who has a history of fostering tech inside the company that nobody else believes in. It now becomes his job to kindly ask the lesser clued folks to either become more clued or seek employment elsewhere, figure out how to get skunkworks projects not only funded but directed in ways that really matter, and pretty much aim the aircraft carrier sized ship of state away from the iceberg strewn granite wall that was our immediate destination.
Obviously not an easy task when:
4) A company pretty much loathed by a fair portion of the engineering staff of his company makes an unsolicited bid for less than the value of your company.
(Ok, let me make an aside here. When have you ever said “i’d love to pay more for that bungalow than you’re asking” or “16 Grand for a Kia? You bet!”? i’m betting “never”. Most folks want to pay less for something, this incentive goes up with prices so while you’re not likely to quibble for a pack of gum and a soda, you’re far more likely to haggle for a car, house or boat. Well, imagine the sorts of back and forth when you’re talking prices in the billions?)
5) Major shareholders (not the Sunnybrooke Arms Stock Watchers of Winnipuket), are briefed by Y! management and support their stand to agree to a higher valuation. Considering that most commentators, analysts and other likes aren’t, i’d say that the major shareholders have a better idea than anyone regarding the overall value of a given company.
6) i can say that i was not looking forward to working for Microsoft. There are some really smart folks there, and they’re doing interesting things, but honestly, i’ve never really liked working for gigantic companies. (Yahoo!, at 13K+ employees is about the upper limit of where i feel comfy.) After that, there are staggering levels of politics and bureaucracy that are all but inescapable.
7) i know that a lot of folks left Yahoo because they were convinced that acquisition by Microsoft was inevitable. There is a SIZABLE culture difference between the two organizations that no bribe could have really overcome. A lot of folks would have simply packed up and left, or stuck around coasting until the bribe vested and then jumped ship at the first opportunity. Heck, as more than a few folks already spotted, a bunch of folks jumped at the mere thought of being bought by Microsoft. (Most left for other reasons, including Valley Turnover.) Microsoft wouldn’t have been buying a bunch of empty buildings, but it wouldn’t have bought Yahoo! either.
As for what the future holds? Who really knows. Yahoo! will get beat up on monday as the short folks dump stock on the news. i’ve still got some options priced at $4, so let’s just say that the price has a bit to go before things really bottom out. Microsoft will undoubtedly invest the money they were going to spend on us on a bunch of things. Some will work, most won’t. It’s what their track record is. Hopefully, they’ll learn a few things and make stuff that’s actually open enough for everyone to use, not just folks on their platforms.
Personally, i’m just glad that this whole, stupid, rejected high school musical is over.