Mind Melding: Microsoft and Yahoo

Lora Bentley

As we wait to see whether Microsoft will successfully take over Yahoo, analysts are pondering just how the two companies will go about combining -- especially given their striking differences. For instance, Yahoo is "a generation younger than Microsoft." Microsoft has at least 70,000 more employees than Yahoo. And, a former Yahoo exec told The New York Times recently, the companies "are completely at odds" on technology.


The open vs. closed debate is a big part of that "at odds" characterization, the story says:

Microsoft's data centers run on proprietary software that is incompatible with the open-source programs and applications adopted by Yahoo...


While Microsoft has used some open-source code, it has generally not contributed technology to the open-source community. In contrast, Yahoo has been an extensive contributor and has built its internal computing platform almost entirely from open source.

Combining the two could be risky, according to observers, because it will mean not only shifting infrastructure, but changing ways of thinking. In fact, Microsoft could choose to let Yahoo keep operating on its existing systems.


"Yahoo is just too big to switch over," says O'Reilly Media's Brady Forrest.


However they choose to accomplish the integration, the story says, it certainly won't happen overnight.

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