A friend of mine gave me Steve Ballmer’s E-Mail address the other day and told me that I should write Steve a note. You are probably thinking as you read this that I was going to write him that he should buy ActiveWords.
Not a chance, although the thought has occurred me that I would love to do that.
Actually I was going to write him to suggest that he should take the $44.6B that Microsoft wants to use to buy Yahoo, and instead capitalize say 44 new companies at $1B each, and find a way to own the future of technology. That in and of itself would probably be construed to be an “anti-trust” event, but what I find most amusing is that I have yet to find anyone who can remember using anything on Yahoo. I, on the other hand, routinely read Yahoo’s college basketball page, yet I don’t think I have even the vaguest recollection of ever seeing an ad on those pages. I just checked and they do have ads. Today one for Oracle, but any association between Oracle and college hoops is probably ignored by 99.99% of basketball fans. ( But thanks I suppose should be given to Oracle for sponsoring the page…)
But what sparked this post was an article in the N.Y. Times this morning entitled “A Highflier Loses Altitude as Google’s Clicks Go Flat” The writer notes that Google’s stock has lost $283 per share from last Fall’s high, or basically twice the value of Yahoo per the Microsoft offer. The write, e.g. Michael Helft notes a report that people just aren’t clicking on “paid clicks”. I don’t think I have ever clicked on one, and only rarely have heard anyone say that the do. Perhaps my friends and my life is different, but I don’t think so. My sense is that the real customers that companies want, e.g. the ones with discretionary income and the ability to influence others are ad blind, i.e. they just don’t see the ads anymore.
Microsoft has all kinds of bright, talented and creative people. They have all kinds of great technology waiting in the wings, and lots of smart people seeking to do business with them with excellent technology.
So, Steve, if it makes any sense, use the cash and stock to invest in the future of technology and in your people, and find a way to make the world a vastly better place.
Just my thoughts for today….