What is the future of Yahoo? How about AOL? Where does Microsoft fit into the picture? There seem to be more questions than answers these days -- and more rumors than facts.
One rumor insists either AOL or Microsoft will acquire Yahoo. AOL was named as a potential suitor before just-fired Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz came on board two years ago. And Microsoft was pressing hard to scoop up Yahoo`s search assets. But some analysts don`t see Redmond making another run for its search partner.
"Given what happened last time Microsoft is unlikely to bid for Yahoo. The bidding for Yahoo took down Microsoft stock 10 to 15 percent and it never recovered," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group. "And Yahoo left Microsoft standing at the altar. It was horribly embarrassing for the executive team."
A Four-Way Battle
The other rumor floating around concerns Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL joining forces to compete against Google on the display advertising front. This is more likely, but none of the companies -- even Google -- are talking. Microsoft, though, is dropping hints.
"We believe that choice, openness and competition help drive innovation in the market," Microsoft said in a public statement. "As such, we are always looking for ways to partner with others in the digital advertising ecosystem to offer innovative solutions that benefit advertisers and publishers. However we have nothing specific to share at this time."
Laura DiDio, principal analyst at ITIC, noted how this group of vendors is competing against one another in a variety of markets -- and the competition is getting fiercer with each passing day.
Google is attempting to chip away at Microsoft`s dominance in software and applications with things like Gmail and Google Apps. Apple and Google are competing in the smartphone and tablet markets. Apple and Microsoft have a 40-year...
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