As of Saturday afternoon, Steve Ballmer no longer wanted to do this deal at any price.
That's why the $33 offer seemed "purposely vague"--because Steve
wasn't really committed to it. That's why Microsoft walked just after Yahoo finally came to its senses and started to move on price. That's why Yahoo is now telling this story to anyone who will listen--because the mercurial Ballmer really did get over this deal.
(What Yahoo isn't saying, as it rolls out its global don't-blame-us campaign, is that OF COURSE Steve Ballmer is over this deal. For this merger to have a chance of working, both companies have to charge into it with 100% enthusiasm. For the past three months, however, Steve Ballmer has watched as:
1. Microsoft's shareholders and employees have peed all over the
2. Yahoo has peed all over the deal.
3. Yahoo has done everything short of auctioning off the furniture to concoct ANY FUTURE BUT the deal.
None of which is conducive to 100% enthusiasm. If you were Steve Ballmer, wouldn't you have lost interest, too?
For Steve and Microsoft this was the deal that could not fail. They were placing all their eggs and the chickens that laid them into the one basket and it had to work out. With Yahoo's woeful handling of the deal it was obvious that this was never going to be a success. There's nothing wrong with using negotiating tactics espeically in Yahoo's position but you better make sure you know what you're doing. The threat of leaving Microsoft with a company that was a shadow of the shadow it was in January when the offer was made was absolute stupidity. Jerry cannot talk about being willing to sell when he was pushing deals with Google a mere days before the withdrawl. Yahoo got what it deserved and I can see much worse on the horizon. Steve needs to look elsewhere on the net for a different style of company. A company that can bring real innovation and enthusiasm into the Microsoft family.