The Wall Street Journal posted an article about the possibility of Microsoft acquiring or merging with Yahoo! as part of Microsoft’s ongoing fixation on beating Google.
I think it’s highly unlikely. But if it were to happen, I think the big winner would be Google.
Yahoo would be instantly less cool, first of all. So some of the geek cred that it’s built up with the APIs and developer AJAX tools that it’s released would be gone at one fell swoop.
More importantly, however, just imagine the integration challenges, the our-tech-is-better battles that would be fought at a million different levels. Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail? MSN Search or Yahoo! search? Both Microsoft and Yahoo! have hundreds of web tools and properties with tens of millions of users … and in an ideal merger situation, those would come together, user management on all the systems would be unified … the list goes on.
Working on integration on that scale would take years, likely. Google is winning because it is focused. Mergers and the resulting integration headaches are classic focus disrupters.