Of All the Hurdles to a Microsoft/Yahoo Merger, View on Technology Is the Highest

Some in the technology industry see Yahoo as too large a company to force into Microsoft’s ways.If Microsoft succeeds in its conquest of Yahoo, what then?Microsoft would face the task of integrating the culture of Yahoo into its own. Merging corporate cultures is generally a major undertaking in any acquisition. What would set this integration apart, though, is where the culture clash is likely to occur — in the two companies’ basic philosophies on technology.Yahoo, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the Silicon Valley, is a generation younger than Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., but it is no longer a freewheeling start-up. With almost 14,000 employees, Yahoo still has rock concerts and Ultimate Frisbee tournaments on its campus. But both Yahoo and Microsoft, with well over 84,000 employees spread around the world, are bureaucratic and rife with fiefdoms.So any cultural conflict may not be over the way the two sides dress, eat or play. It probably will not even be about those bureaucracies.A smooth integration also will not be a matter of simply swapping one set of software or hardware for another — though that is a daunting part of the task. It may hinge on changing deep-seated mindsets.When it comes to technology, Microsoft and Yahoo “are completely at odds with one another,” said Rob Solomon, chief executive of SideStep, a travel-related search engine. He was a Yahoo executive in charge of shopping, auctions, travel and real estate before leaving the company in 2006.

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