Microsoft founder Bill Gates continued the negotiate-through-the-press game by sending a message to Yahoo yesterday: We’re not raising our bid until you come to the negotiating table:
“We sent them a letter and said we think that’s a fair offer. There’s nothing that’s gone on other than us stating that we think it’s a fair offer,” the Microsoft chairman said Monday. “They should take a hard look at it.”
No shock there. It’s still too soon for Microsoft to counter without looking weak, especially since the pressure is only beginning to build on Yahoo’s management team. If Yahoo hasn’t come up with a credible alternative by the end of this week (unlikely), Yahoo’s stock will likely begin to drop. This will turn up the heat.
Bill also took the opportunity to deliver two other key parts of Microsoft’s Yahoo message:
- We’ll be fine without you (designed to remind Yahoo shareholders that Microsoft could aways walk).
- We’d love to have Yahoo’s awesome engineering talent (designed to blow smoke up Yahoo employee posteriors)
Separately, Microsoft will “authorise” a proxy fight this week, the NYT reports. This in itself doesn’t mean much: To maintain its dual carrot/stick approach, Microsoft has to keep demonstrating that it is willing to play hardball, and it will likely continue down the proxy road. Microsoft will only likely go this route as a last resort, but in the meantime, it has to keep up appearances.
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