Ballmer's biggest flop to date

No, I'm not going to say Vista. I see Vista as an organizational failure. Ballmer gets his share of the blame, but there's plenty of blame to go around. Now, Microhoo, the failed attempt to buy out Yahoo -- that heaping pile lands directly on Ballmer's doorstep.

Let me walk you through it. First, as we all know, Microsoft has been obsessed by Google. Ballmer is convinced that Google is The Enemy.

I've never quite understood this. Yes, in general terms, Google is the one technology company that Microsoft hasn't been able to beat into the ground. So what? Microsoft makes its billions from selling software. Google makes it mint from online advertising and the search engine that powers it.

Certainly, as the years have rolled by, Microsoft has tried to storm into Google's search stronghold. They've failed. It won't be the first or last time that Microsoft moved out of its comfort zone and into the twilight zone.

Google, in its turn, has advanced into Microsoft territory with Google Apps. That's a more serious threat. I think online office suites will never completely break office suites that live on PCs. After all do you really want your important report's very creation to depend entirely on your Starbucks Wi-Fi connection? I don't. Google Apps is no Microsoft Office killer.

Besides, Microsoft can play the online office suite again. OK so their efforts with their slew of different fill-in-the-blank Live services to become a Web 2.0 contender hasn't really gone on anywhere. Still, with its most recent attempt to create an all in one SMB online office service package, Albany, Microsoft may actually have something customers will want.

But, instead of competing and beating Google, Ballmer had to make a grandstand play. He had to take Google head-on by buying Google's closest competitor. Would it have worked? I don't know. I can argue both sides of whether Microhoo would have worked for Microsoft.

What we do know is that, the data suggests that when you put two declining search engines together, you're not really going to be hurting Google much.

That's water over the dam now. What's important isn't whether it would have worked or not -- we'll never know now -- it's that Ballmer couldn't get the deal made. Ballmer said, at the time, May 3rd, "After careful consideration, we believe the economics demanded by Yahoo do not make sense for us, and it is in the best interests of Microsoft stockholders, employees and other stakeholders to withdraw our proposal."

So, of course, what did he do? Ballmer kept trying, and failing, anyway to close the deal. Finally, Ballmer's last efforts came to nothing on June 12th. Ballmer's last ditch effort to buy Yahoo has failed. Oh, and Ballmer's moronic joke of trying to buy Yahoo's search engine without the rest of the company -- isn't that kind of like saying you want to buy a car except you don't want the hubcaps? -- came to nothing.

Finally adding salt to Microsoft's self-inflicted wounds, what was the final result of Ballmer's ham-handed attempt to pull off Microsoft's biggest acquisition? Why, Ballmer made Google stronger than ever by driving Yahoo into a Google ad-sales alliance.

Good going Ballmer! He not only can't hurt Google, he actually makes them stronger! It's enough to make me wonder if maybe Ballmer has some kind of corporate death wish. Maybe Ballmer wants to be fired?

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