Yahoo! is a consumer-friendly service provider that succeeds only to the extent it can give consumers what they want, as fast as possible. Its chipper home-page stories on pets, stupid human tricks, and quirky top 10s help Web surfers lighten their day.
Microsoft is a sharp-elbowed monopoly accustomed to forcing consumers to adopt whatever products it chooses, regardless of the frustration it causes. Among Microsoft's innovations: clicking on "Start" when you want to stop, new versions of software that are incompatible with the old, and "upgrades" that downgrade your ability to control your own computer.
So what will happen if the software king purchases the tottering Web portal? A top five list of the "synergies" I'm really looking forward to:
5. A new and improved version of Yahoo! requires you to download a new version of Internet Explorer, which requires a new version of Windows, which requires more memory, which requires you to buy a whole new computer. But don't worry, the new Microhoo! has arranged for this all to happen automatically; you don't have to do anything except pay the bill in 30 days.
4. To protect you from yourself, Yahoo! incorporates important new security features that prevent you from going to dangerous sites like Google that could corrupt your computer with unwanted information. Of course, you can always choose to override the default setting, by opening the System32 folder and entering a few thousand lines of code.
3. Microsoft studies Yahoo!'s user-friendly approach and institutes customer-service reforms, cutting its help response time from infinity to half that.
2. The new MyMicrosoft! offers features like real-time Web chat with Microsoft programmers who can explain how you're using your computer wrong, and E-mail newsletters on how dumb the general public is. Unsubscribing costs just $9.95 per month.
1. Microsoft gets religion, adopts new motto: "Do even less evil than Google."