With or Without Yahoo! Part I
Steve Clayton from Microsoft is not so amused with their placement on the Webtrendmap. In the light of the hostile Yahoo! takeover Blitzkrieg we had this very revealing little exchange:
“I think we can safely say the Information Architects team are no fans of Microsoft but it may be that there recent Trend Map may have some delays on the line if the Yahoo deal goes through. They claim that Microsoft will not be happy as “Passport” has no significance. Well Passport has gone guys and it’s now Windows Live ID. You’d think they would have found that from Wikipedia right? Nah, easier to just make it up and ignore the 380 million users logging in over 1.2 billion times a day. Small fry. Whilst we’re on Live, go check out Live Labs guys. Seadragon, Photosynth, Deepfish anyone? On and Windows Live Writer and Popfly and Silverlight. I got a little tired with the rest of the cheap shots but that’s okay as they “included plenty of insider jokes, ironic hints, and sarcasm”. Marking Microsoft down as exhausted must be an insider joke about the $52bn :) I love their maps, I’m just not sure how rooted in reality they are.”
The only surprise is that it took so long for them to react. Here is our answer to Microsoft’s complaint:
You might be right about the delay.
Yet if the deal goes through, all we need to do is put X’s on Yahoo and move eBay somewhere else. But believe me, our MS-positioning is not just an opinion of some dreamy Apple boy. It is my fierce professional conviction as an online strategist and interactive brand consultant that buying up another Dinosaur is not the way to succeed in the online business. All MS will achieve by taking over declining Yahoo! is running it down even more. You will have to deal with potential user rage and exodus (the Flickr crowd is definitely going to give you a hard time).
Form all you’ve been trying to say, this was the most amusing and most significant sentence:
“Well Passport has gone guys and it’s now Windows Live ID.”
Oh yeah? And you believe we didn’t know that, do you? Well, let me give you a quick update here:
- The problem I have when talking about online Microsoft products is that I have the choice between catastrophic rebranding nomenclature and names that people actually know. The whole Live rebranding is one prototypical mistake and everyone knows it.
- You can tell if a brand works by watching people’s mouths. Everybody still says “Hotmail” and “Messenger” and “Passport” because the whole Live concept is a chimera.
- That’s why we eventually say “Passport” and “Hotmail” and “Messenger.” By sticking to the names people actually use we don’t need to waste their precious time explaining your silly branding caprioles.
The Microsoft Brand
We put a lot of thought, care, and research into this. If Microsoft were as careful and reflected as we are, they wouldn’t ([feel the] need to) buy Yahoo. Let me give you some insights in how we think:
- Your brand consultants probably won’t tell you that, but you should know it anyways: since the inspiring Gates has left the building, MS has a top level branding problem, much greater and much more profound than the Live chimera: Steve B. does not have an inspiring personality. Gates actually did, because he’s the kind and intelligent passive geek that everybody likes. The problem you guys have is that the driving personality behind the MS brand now is berserker.
- Steve B.’s shark charm will not just reflect on your strategy and products, but on your brand perception as a whole.
- By expanding even more with such a difficult integration figure on the steering wheel things will get much worse.
An Honest Defense
I understand that you feel the need to defend your company. After all, that’s what I do here myself. But then again, let’s do that in an honest way:
- Do you really feel comfortable with that $52bn Yahoo deal?
- What else would that be if not a sign of desperation in front of Google?
- Do you believe the whole Live rebranding was that smart?
- Is there one original MS Internet project that you can be truly proud of?
- Why are you guys behaving like dicks in the HTML5 work group?
Let’s be even more honest: remember when we were talking last year about the eventuality that Microsoft might sponsor the map? Remember what I said? Let me refresh your memory: “No problem,” I said, “but we won’t change our dark prognosis for you guys just because you have money.”
One More Thing
It is tough to get things right when dealing with 300 websites in such a complex setup, and there are mistakes on the map, and that’s why we ran a beta phase this time. No one complained about our Microsoft assessment so far… and as far as I know you are also the first trying to play it down.
At least that should make you think.
And the Beat Goes On
You can follow the links below to track the heated battle between Google an Microsoft happening right now. This is very very very exciting.
“Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.”
Google Offers to Help Yahoo Fight Off Microsoft
Yahoo may consider Google alliance, source says
Google launches its ‘let’s annoy Microsoft’ plan: Pings Yahoo and works regulators
Microsoft is “committed to openness,” snickers its general counsel
“(…)these words came from Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, in response to Google’s complaint that a Microsoft and Yahoo! tie up would be bad for the Internet:‘Microsoft is committed to openness, innovation, and the protection of privacy on the Internet.Microsoft? Committed to openness? Microsoft has been committed to destroying openness over the years, and Brad Smith has played an integral role in that strategy, defying the US Justice Department and the world’s consumer. I think highly of Brad, but I find this guile to be galling in the extreme.’
Google is exactly right in calling out Microsoft’s cheek:
‘Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies — and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.’
It could, and it absolutely would given the chance. Microsoft is currently using Sharepoint to lock in and lock up enterprise IT. It’s the same playbook that Microsoft has always used.”
In the light of the hostile Yahoo! takeover
Ex-Microsoft employee Robert Scoble on Google’s “real intentions”:
Google stands to gain HUGE by slowing down this deal. Every month longer that this deal takes is tens of millions in Google’s pockets.
Nice try, Robert. Only, no matter how you put it, Microsoft does seriously endanger the balance in the force with this deal.
We all know that it is their intent to create an Internet monopoly like they created an OS-Monopoly and Office=Software monopoly before. If it can be done or not is another question.
But if—as a result out of this—Google and Yahoo end up as a strategic team, this day might as well go into tech history as Microsoft’s Waterloo.
With nothing left but the “trainwreck” (M. Arrington) that Microsoft has turned its online services into, they will have lost the online battle with Google for as sure as sure can be.
The hostile Yahoo! takeover is already another major blow against their own brand. People are sickend by this kind of Tyrannosaurus Rex attitude. That this comes just one week after MS Ex-CEO Bill Gates “issuing a clarion call for a ‘kinder capitalism’ to aid the world’s poor” shows how ruthless and perverted this company really is.Ð