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Charles on… anything that comes along

Friday 1 February 2008

Filed under: — Charles @ 4:25 pm

My latest stories at the Guardian: Microsoft/Yahoo (doomed to fail!), hardcore games, Xbox problems and time travel

OK, here’s the latest. My column has been pushed aside a little by this Microsoft/Yahoo thing - where the problems of integrating the two systems go far beyond the simple problem of wiping out “Yahoo” and putting Microsoft there. How about getting rid of PHP and replacing it with ASP, or dumping FreeBSD for Windows Server - which it’s almost sure to do, isn’t it? Plus the fact that on the whole, mergers fail, and hostile takeovers don’t have a much better track record when it comes to preserving shareholder value for either side.

Plus, at the end, the two sides are going to be left with what looks like the second-best technology in pretty much every field except photo sharing. And even there, do you trust Microsoft not to throw the wrong baby out with the bathwater? Can it be ruthless in killing the things that don’t work in MSN/Live, and keep the good ones from Yahoo? History isn’t encouraging.

The problems of merging Microsoft and Yahoo

Trying to put two companies together almost always leads to tears, the destruction of value and, of course, job losses, and the result is never quite as good as the separate pieces

How hardcore gamers are being pushed aside by the soft surround

Which is the leading next-generation console company? Is it Sony, with its energy-sucking PlayStation 3? Or Microsoft, the new adult on the block?

Insider blames overheating GPU for Xbox 360 failures

The high failure rate of the original version of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 games console is principally due to the graphics processor unit getting too hot and warping the motherboard, claims an anonymous source within Microsoft

Revolutionary ‘travel time’ maps stumble at the cost barrier

You’ve got your dream job in central London. You’re prepared to travel for between 30 and 60 minutes to get to it. You’ve also got enough money to put a deposit on a house. Where do you start looking?

2 Responses to “My latest stories at the Guardian: Microsoft/Yahoo (doomed to fail!), hardcore games, Xbox problems and time travel”

  1. Shakir Razak Says:

    Hi,

    You were pretty right on Newsnight, but it’s the potential of Microsoft having different management, wanting to desperately have a shot in the arm like they’ve given up on waiting for an organic turnaround and are going to do what good big companies do: buy; robert Scoble was right about the value of email -think about the potential of a 500million user social network and grabbing those users onto the escalator of Office.Live before Google docs, etc get traction; and finally, what most people haven’t considered: that initial monopoly-eco-system fantasy (as google/apple/nokia are also working on) of the profile, the digital element, travelling from pc to mobile to social network to msn-chat to iptv to x-box to your eye-ball in an eventual multi-axis multi-platform symantic-web [ok, some my old vision].

    If you want a bit of left-field: The former qxl (now tradus) shouldn’t sell itself, because together with all the other maelstrom in the industry, a newly active, ambitous and driven yahoo, succeeding in asian auctions would then be able to play its part in europe and america.!!!

    Yours kindly,

    Shakir Razak

  2. Charles Says:

    @Shakir - yes, good points about Office Live etc. That’s a long game, certainly, and perhaps the best thing that Yahoo offers.
    Then again, Hotmail and Yahoo are each 5x bigger than Gmail. And can Microsoft bear to run two brands under the same roof? What overlap is there of Yahoo and Hotmail and Gmail?

    Certainly, having the most-visted page on the web couldn’t hurt Microsoft. But the price is not cheap.
    Glad you saw Newsnight :-)

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