Archive for the ‘acquisitions’ Category

When Will Twitter Be Acquired?

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

[When Will Twitter Be Acquired?] - Place your bets. The Twitter sweepstakes is about to begin…

My instincts tell me that a Twitter acquisition is in the near future. Potential acquisitor? PTwitter logorobably Google. It seems like a perfect fit with Blogger. In addition, the clean, simplistic look and feel of the micro-blogging leader lends itself well with other Google products.

Who knows though… Google may lose the race. But I think it’s only a matter of time before someone swipes this hot property. Yahoo is the obviously second choice. I could even see a bidding war erupt should rumours begin to circulate.

My guess is that the market would be willing to pay a hefty premium at this point in the game. Then again, I would wager that the company has already been approached, but is demanding a ridiculous sum (see “Facebook”). I await in eager anticipation…

So who’s the buyer? What’s the price tag? When will it happen? Any guesses?

Yahoo’s Lemming Strategy

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

[Yahoo’s Lemming Strategy] - Can someone explain to me Yahoo’s new “lemming” Yahoo logostrategy? It seems that once a space catches fire, Yahoo scrambles to launch a low-budget copy of the industry leader. The lack of human and financial resources allocated to these initiatives is apparent. In the end, these offerings are bound to fail.

The two examples that immediately come to mind are Yahoo! Mash and Yahoo! FireEagle.

When Yahoo failed in its bid to acquire Facebook, the company realized it had to do something to capitalize on the explosive growth of the sector… and fast. Enter Yahoo! Mash. This afterthought of a product fails on all levels. The interface is ugly and the feature set is weak at best. There is no compelling reason why anyone abandon ship at Facebook or MySpace to join Yahoo! Mash.

Yesterday, Yahoo launched a BETA version of FireEagle. Though I have yet to try the service, I’ve heard mixed reviews. It is being touted as a location-based Twitter. After viewing the front page of the site, I can see why - the look and feel screams of Twitter. Obviously, Yahoo has recognized the potential of micro-blogging and made a decision to enter the space. Is it too late? Does the offering live up to expectations? It is too early to tell, but I instinctively have my doubts.

What we do know is this: there are two ways to enter an industry - build a product/service or acquire a company. It seems that Yahoo has focused on the latter in previous years (i.e. acquisitions of Flickr, del.icious, MyBlogLog). More recently however, the company has transitioned toward a more internal based approach (i.e. development and launch of Yahoo! Mash and Yahoo! FireEagle). Neither strategy seems to be overly successful thus far, although I would tend to favour the acquisition strategy in this case. It will be interesting to see whether Yahoo continues this “lemming” strategy or whether they revert back to acquisition mode.

What do you think of Yahoo’s new approach? Do you think they should stick with it or revert back? In general, how should they go about introducing/launching new products?

What Does The Future of Yahoo Look Like?

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Your guess is as good as mine. The future of Yahoo remains yet again the topic of manyYahoo logo discussions. The recent rejection of Microsoft’s takeover attempt once again leaves the search giant without a concrete plan, wondering what to do next.

Simply put, Yahoo is losing ground against Google in two very important areas - search and advertising. These two areas are key to Yahoo’s future success and strength as a portal.

The management shake-up and subsequent appointment of Jerry Yang as interim CEO have done little to turn this story around. Strategic hurdles are prevalent and unresolved. I also sense a bit of an identity crisis as the company struggle to estabish priorities. May I add ”urgency” as a theme?

What about all the recent acquisitions? No-one has been able to identify a pattern or determine a logical strategy behind Yahoo’s sporadic purchasing of web properties.

All these questions leave me (and others) wondering, “What now?” I truly believe that Yahoo needs to develop strategic plan very quickly or it will lose serious ground against Google - and other rivals.

What do you think Yahoo should do? Is there anything Yahoo shouldn’t do?

Is The Widget Gold Rush Over?

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

In my mind, widgets have never been a business model. They are a marketing tool that provide exposure and funnel traffic back to a parent property. This is where a business model and subsequent monetization emerge. I think that companies (and VCs) are starting to realize this, and widget fever is nearing an end.

For clarification purposes, I believe widgets will be around forever. However, pure-play widget start-ups won’t be. The funding of these initiatives will die off as potential investors realize the risks.

Up until recently, it seemed like everyone and their dog was launching a widget-based start-up or a web 2.0 company that served up widgets. The hope was that these widgets would spur viral distribution, creating widespread exposure. In many cases, this did occur. But now what? Where is the monetization? How can revenue be generated via these eyeballs? Most held on to the hope that eyeballs would attract potential acquisitors. In other words, their revenue model was an exit strategy in disguise - the infamous “web 2.0 revenue model”.

VCs just don’t seems to be funding these start-ups like they used to - and for good measure. Without revenues, these companies are unable to sustain themselves. At this point, it becomes a time game. Will the cash run out before an acquisitor comes along? I would bet on it.

Microsoft’s Online Strategy: A Yahoo Acquisition

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Yahoo logoWe’ve heard the rumours for months years. Enter… today. In an incredible turn of events (well, not really), a Microsoft-Yahoo acquisition may actually be in the works. To some, this is huge news. To the rest of us, it was only a matter of time.

Undoubtedly, Google is king in the online world. Yahoo is scared. Microsoft is scared. Now, they can be less scared, together. Both are lost with respect to their online strategies. Microsoft logoYahoo re-hired Jerry Yang in attempt to revolutionize the company. This never came to fruition. As for Microsoft, the Redmond-giant has always been lagging behind Google and Yahoo when it comes to online strategy. The software heavyweight is best known for arriving at the party too late and over-paying for mediocre properties. By joining forces, I think that Microsoft, in particular, is hoping that everything just ‘works out’ and everything falls into place. Unlikely.

Obviously synergies will exist. Costs can be cut and economies of scale can be leveraged. This will likely cause an HR nightmare, but business is business. If either wants to have a chance at Google, this may be their best option. This may be the last hurrah.

Microsoft stands to gain most from Yahoo’s search engine and ad platform. These are two areas where Microsoft has continually been playing catch-up and has never seemed to get a strong grasp on the market. That said, Yahoo is lagging behind Google in these areas in a big way as well. Another area where Microsoft stands to gain from Yahoo is with respect to brand. Yahoo drives a lot of revenues via its services. This is largely in part to excellent branding.

My biggest concern is whether current Yahoo employees will want to work for the sloth-like, monolith we know as Microsoft. My guess is that the cultures vary greatly and that post-acquisition syndrome may take effect.

For more news on the acquisition, check out: