Microsoft and Yahoo! No deal: Microsoft walks away from Yahoo!, and both companies lose

Rather as John McCain cannot be displeased to have seen Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fighting it out, Google has for the past three months enjoyed watching its only two serious rivals, Yahoo! and Microsoft, tear each other to pieces. Yahoo!, once an internet pioneer, has fallen far behind Google in web search and related advertising. Microsoft still dominates desktop computing but lags behind Google as software moves online. So Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s boss, dared ask Yahoo!: what would be wrong with making, if not exactly a dream team, at least a joint effort out of it?But on May 3rd, after a frustrating marathon of meetings, Mr Ballmer walked away. He had raised his offer for Yahoo! from an initial $44.6 billion on January 31st to about $47.5 billion, some 70% more than Yahoo!’s value at the time of the opening bid. Jerry Yang, Yahoo!’s co-founder and boss, wanted at least $5 billion more. Mr Ballmer wrote him a bitter letter saying that “you and your stockholders have left significant value on the table.” Wall Street’s verdict, on May 5th, was to cut Yahoo!’s value to $34 billion.

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