Well I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again — no matter what you may think about Steve Ballmer, whether you love him or hate him, you have to admit he’s probably the most brilliant CEO in our industry and maybe in any industry today. This fantastic bait-and-switch maneuver on Yahoo just proves it. In one fell swoop Ballmer has upended this entire market space, roiled up everyone, forced all of his competitors into more difficult positions — and none more so than Jerry Yang of Yahoo who looks more foolish than ever right now. How long till Yang comes crawling back looking — nay, begging — for a deal with Microsoft? Three months? His shareholders are already preparing an uprising against him. When the dust clears, Ballmer will scoop Yahoo up on the cheap.
Naturally a lot of the filthy hacks and shitbags on Wall Street are getting it all wrong, saying that if Ballmer didn’t have the stomach for a hostile bid why did he bother launching this in the first place, since it was obvious (or should have been anyway) that Yahoo management was never going to negotiate in good faith. Some idiot in the Financial Times says the failure of the deal is “a black eye for Ballmer.” Excuse me? A black eye? This is a triumph for Microsoft. It is perhaps the company’s finest moment. Certainly it marks the high point in Ballmer’s career.
For better coverage, check out the real experts like Mini Microsoft, who’s cheering his ass off (see here) and Borg expert Mary Jo Foley who says the deal “restores my faith in the future of the company” (see here) and Joe Wilcox who says the Borg comes out looking better than Yahoo.
Here at Apple we’ve started a betting pool here about two data points — Yahoo’s stock price on the first trade of the day tomorrow, and its price by the end of the day.
Namaste, Steve Ballmer. I bow to your genius.