Chris Liddell, senior Vice President and CFO, speaking during yesterday’s earnings call:
As outlined in our recent letter to the Yahoo board, unless we make progress with Yahoo towards an agreement by this weekend, we will consider our alternatives. We will provide updates as appropriate next week. These alternatives clearly include taking an offer to Yahoo shareholders or to withdraw our proposal and focus on other opportunities, both organic and inorganic.
Personally I think the Yahoo deal would be bad for Microsoft. I think it is driven by financial people trying to sum two market shares in search; but it is not so simple. My view is based on problems of integration, morale and culture, plus the risk of further confusing an Internet strategy that is already opaque.
Although Microsoft continues to be trounced in search (not least because it is simply not as good as its competition), there are signs of progress elsewhere. Another snippet from the earnings call: General Manager Colleen Healy mentioned that Live ID take-up is up by 18% to 448 million. No doubt many of those will be worthless accounts, but not all of them. Revenue from online business is up. Organic growth and smaller acquisitions would work better for the company.