Kara Swisher introduces Yahoos to their likely bosses at Microsoft, and predicts which products/brands survive if and when the two companies combine. The gist: The Yahoo brand trumps the MSN brand, but MSFT products probably trump YHOO products.
That makes sense. But fans of Yahoo Mail, Messenger, etc shouldn’t panic yet. Even if your favourite services are destined for the chopping block, they’re going to have a long stay of execution.
Again, a reminder of the MSFT-YHOO timeline: Even if the deal gets done today, you’re still looking at a year or so of regulatory approval, “i” dotting, etc. Then another year of organizational integration. If Redmond does plan to migrate users from Yahoo products to Microsoft ones (or vice versa), in other words, it will take several years to do so.
No Microsoft manager wants to be known as the one who lost millions of Yahoo users by forcing them to switch services. And Microsoft already moves at a snail’s pace: Hence the years-long creep to move its own Hotmail customers to “Windows Live Mail”, a marathon that took most of this decade.
But most important, the consumer-facing services are unlikely to change because Microsoft isn’t really interested in them. The merger’s rationale is centered on two back-end products — advertising and search — and that’s where Redmond will focus its initial integration/consolidation efforts. So yes, your “@yahoo.com” address may one day be a relic. But you’ll be able to keep it for a while.
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