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Developers' Take: Microsoft Buying Yahoo

When Microsoft made a $44.6 billion tender to purchase online giant Yahoo, it did more than make a lot of waves in the IT and financial arenas. It also shook the confidence of a lot of developers.

You need look no further than this Mini-Microsoft blog post, which concludes that while developers at Microsoft expect little to happen any time soon, whatever eventually does happen will probably be bad. This snip pretty much sums it up:

Most engineers, as expected of engineers, see all the problems and that it's going to be a staggering mess, let alone that there are things that Yahoo! does way better than us and that our stuff should be dropped. Strategic optimists and those looking for a promotion will rebrand it as a synergistic opportunity to align our technological assets into a virtuous, hyper-competitive cycle to benefit our users, partners, and shareholders.

Did I detect a whiff of sarcasm there? Regardless, there are reasons to be both excited and suspicious about this proposed acquisition. The impact it would have on the numerous competing and overlapping services offered by the two companies would be nothing short of tectonic. And that clash could force developers all over the globe to make, adjust or reconsider decisions.

To get a sense of the integration challenge ahead, and the impact it would have on developers aligned to the Yahoo service stack, take a
look at the fantastic comparison posted on the I Started Something blog. As author Long Zheng notes about the many competing services:

Now imagine for each and every one of these you have to make a decision -- to keep it as is, integrate Yahoo's into Microsoft's, integrate Microsoft's into Yahoo's, or even come up with a new hybrid. Simple branding aside, I think the developers are going to have to work quite a few late nights to integrate what I believe are two monolithic systems together.


We want to hear your take. Would a Microsoft-Yahoo combination disrupt your coding plans? What would you do if such a merger were formalized? Run to Google? Adopt all Microsoft solutions with the assumption that its interfaces and APIs will gain primacy? Or would you stick with Yahoo where it's superior, assuming its implementations might survive the acquisition?

Speak up and let our readers know, at [email protected]. We may publish your insights in our coverage of the Microsoft-Yahoo buyout in an upcoming issue.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 02/07/2008 at 1:15 PM

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