What's worse, MicroHoo or YaGoogle?

2008 will be a good time to be a Microsoft competitor, and an even worse than usual time to be a Microsoft customer

So it seems Google may be trying to stave off the shotgun wedding between Microsoft and Yahoo, showing up at Yahoo's window with a ladder and a bus ticket.

Google itself can't make a competitive offer -- even our current "monopolies are good for capitalism" DoJ can't stand by idly for that. But G-man Eric Schmidt has been making noises about finding other suitors who'd be more, well, suitable to Yahoo, or offering a deal where Yahoo gets to eat a slice of Google's massive advertising pie. Or simply taking the fight to the Feds, as Microsoft tried to do when Google snarfled up DoubleClick last year.

I don't think anything Google does will sway regulators or Yahoo's investors, who can recognize a sinking ship when they see one. When you're going down for the third time, even a garbage scow looks like the Queen Mary.

Or maybe just the Titanic. I'm not alone in thinking MicroHoo is heading for an iceberg. Cringester (and well-known security wonk) R. S. opines:

Everyone seems to think that Microsoft should be going after the ad space. Why? They are a software company. They write massive code for PC's, phones, and game systems. They make pretty good money at it from what I can see. Why go after the ad space when Google is going after the OS and the software? MSFT should circle the wagons, figure out what is going on in the world and execute!

Or maybe just be executed. Cringe fan S. C. believes trying to integrate YHOO will cause Microsoft to implode.

This bid is the beginning of the end for Microsoft as we know it... Eventually, Microsoft will have to actually integrate its OS ideals with a UNIX type of makeover, and there will be ONE operating system in the near future that will run underneath everything.

A single open OS would be nice; but does it have to be one (or ONE) from Microsoft?

Meanwhile as this soap opera unfolds, MS is sending Vista Service Pack 1 to manufacturing. Consumers should see it some time in March. But don't break out the party hats and noisemakers just yet; apparently SP1 will still have problems working with older hardware due to driver issues. The question then becomes if we'll ever see a Service Pack 2 to fix the stuff SP1 missed.

Do you think Microsoft will be able to do anything -- let alone fix its broken OS -- while it's wrestling with Google over Yahoo? I don't. 2008 will prove to be a good time to be a Microsoft competitor, and an even worse than usual time to be a Microsoft customer.

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Robert X. Cringely

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