I am in Australia this week speaking at a series of Internet security conferences in different cities about email encryption. While being away from home has made it hard to stay on top of the news, I did hear that Yahoo has officially spurned Microsoft’s $44 billion takeover bid. So I began to think carefully of who should try to buy the long-standing Internet portal company. Here are my top suggestions, some of them serious, some not.
- Proctor and Gamble. What better place to land than someone that advertises the most products in the most markets? And while the DOJ might have some anti-trust issues, particularly with other consumer products companies that would feel slighted over P&G-hoo, at least they could say this is the cleanest merger in history.
- Anheiser-Busch. Along similar lines, we might as well have someone that at least knows how to run a variety of major businesses (they operate their own railroad, as an example – how far of a stretch is it to run data transportation company?) and also understands how advertising works. It would also be a big plus to replace A-B’s miserable Bud.tv with a video sharing site that is actually worthwhile, too.
- AT&T. They already work with Yahoo to provide email addresses for their DSL customers. They certain have similar goals in terms of world domination, lousy customer service, and buying up lots of smaller companies and not knowing what to do with them. This way Yahoo could get a leg up on its competitors by prioritizing its own net traffic. This could have the side benefit of killing off the Equal Access legislation, and just letting AT&T control everything, just like it was 1950 all over again. (just kidding, somewhat)
- Intuit. The financial news portion of Yahoo would fit nicely in with the world’s Quicken and QuickBooks users. And Intuit could improve Yahoo’s content focus in other areas, too.
- Cisco. They have lots of cash, they buy lots of other networking companies, why not have something in their portfolio that can really connect everything together? They certainly understand Internet business models, and could add Yahoo’s APIs into IOS to provide portals-in-a-router. Plus, they were also started by a couple of Stanford geeks, so there would be some nice chemistry too with Filo and Yang.
- Sony. They have almost redeemed themselves after the copy protection debacles of yesteryear. Why not pull out the online music piece of Yahoo and really make it all possible?
- Amazon.com. They sell everything else on earth, so why not combine forces? There is some natural synergies with the music storefronts, they could tie in Yahoo IM to notify people of their purchases, and they resell DSL services too.
- Ron Paul. He is doing so well raising money over the Internet, why not own a real portal company?
- Tuvalu. The small island country already owns dot TV domains, why not expand their reach and have some real Internet clout? Given the revenue stream from all the folks who want their domains, they might be able to afford a competitive bid.
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- David Strom
- David Strom has looked at hundreds of computer products over a more than 20 year career in IT and computer journalism. He was the founding editor-in-chief of Network Computing magazine, and now writes for Baseline, Information Security, Tom's Hardware, and the New York Times.