This morning, Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion in a cash-and-stock deal. While not entirely hostile, as Yahoo’s board is considering the deal, it’s not exactly friendly, either. Steve Ballmer said on a conference call that the two companies have been talking about this for the last 18 months, but that Yahoo management always deferred. Last night Ballmer decided the time was right, called Yahoo CEO and Co-founder Jerry Yang and made the offer.
Last week I got to speak with Microsoft’s Dan’l Lewin, an Apple alumnus who now leads the software giant’s Emerging Business Team, meaning he’s Microsoft’s chief embassador to VCs and startups — Ballmer’s “Man in the Valley.” (Here he is giving a keynote at GigaOM’s NewTeeVee Live event in November.)
Lewin discussed Microsoft’s biz dev strategy, but emphasized the part that takes root long before Ballmer’s much-hyped M&A machine. These days, he said, Microsoft is very happy to partner with startups that support its platforms (not a new idea) — even when it has no intention of ever buying or rolling-up said startups (a fairly new idea). Sometimes Microsoft will help companies grow and scale to the point at which a peer buys them instead. Microsoft did this with PolyServe, which was bought by Hewlett-Packard, and with MySpace, now part of NewsCorp.
This is the primary function of Microsoft’s Startup Accelerator Program, which Lewin oversees as well. You may be wondering: Even if we accept that Microsoft has shed it’s one-time hostile ways of engaging young companies (Netscape!), how do you go about getting noticed by the biggest software company on earth? Especially in this increasingly noisy startup market?’
Today’s you’re lucky day. Lewin offers some tips on just how to do this… Read More about ‘Accelerating’ Advice from Microsoft’s Dan’l Lewin
In Mumbai for Red Herring’s ATRE conference, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer was pushed by reporters (via Reuters) on the wisdom of…