Sorry Mitch, I guess I’m going to be talking about the same thing as you. I had it half written when I noticed yours went up and I really don’t feel like choosing another topic and researching that one too. I guess if we have to write on the biggest news of the week there will be some overlapping anyway.

So the big news I’ve been hearing about is AOL’s purchase of the social networking website, Bebo. The price? $850,000,000. That’s a lot of zeros. Especially when AOL is slowly dying a painful and horrible *potential* death. I’ll go into a little more depth on both companies.

AOL (formerly America Online) was once mainly in the Internet Service Provider industry, with 30 million subscribers (down to 10.1 million as of Nov. 2007). Due to the dramatic decrease in dial-up (resulting in a decrease in their subscribers) the company has been trying to change their image to an Internet Content Provider rather than a service provider. As of February 2008, there was an announcement that AOL would split into two different sections: internet access and advertising. This is where the acquisition of Bebo comes in.

Bebo (Blog early, blog often) is a social media network (much like MySpace, Hi5, and Facebook) that has a substantial claim on the market. Although they aren’t quite as big as Facebook or MySpace in North America, it is extremely competitive in other countries, such as Britain and Ireland. It is actually the 66th most popular English-language website (MySpace = 5th, Facebook = 6th, Hi5 = 8th) according to Alexa Internet. *Sidenote: There are a few porn sites in the top 100, as well as Google having a bunch there too).

What makes this such a dangerous merger for other social networks is that AOL has the software that Bebo needs to grab top market share. AOL has the 10 million subscribers that could extremely benefit Bebo’s population, as well as the advertising software that Facebook has been struggling so much to make effective. With AOL’s AIM and ICQ potentially growing Bebo, and with Bebo a great site for mass advertising, this could be a great way for AOL to rebound and become one of the star online advertising companies.

A problem with this merger is that Yahoo runs the display advertising for Bebo in the UK and Ireland. If Microsoft is successful in the bid for Yahoo, what will be the outcome? Microsoft has put heavy support behind Facebook with their 1.6% purchase, so how can they justify a part of their company (if Yahoo is purchased) supporting the rival of their Facebook? Can Microsoft support two social networks?

Also, with Yahoo running the advertising display for Bebo, Google running the advertising of MySpace, and Microsoft running the advertising for Facebook, it makes the market pretty competitive. If Microsoft purchases Yahoo, then it gives Microsoft a great deal more advertising power, controlling both Facebook’s and Bebo’s advertising. Will this finally make Microsoft competitive with Google’s advertising power? I guess we will see in the coming months.

*UPDATE* Facebook has just announced that it will be having an instant message service built right into Facebook.  This is announced right after AOL has been talking about combining their AIM service to Bebo. *

Cheers,

David McKenna

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Microsoft and Yahoo

February 1, 2008

I was just surfing the net and I came across an article stating that Microsoft has made an offer to buy Yahoo. It’s from Digital Home Canada. Heres’ what it says.

Microsoft today announced that it has made a proposal to Yahoo to buy the company for $44.6 billion dollars. Microsoft is offering Yahoo shareholders the equivalent of $31 a share in cash and Microsoft stock.

Yesterday at closing their stock(Yahoo) was valued at $19.18. But has a result of the announcement  Yahoo’s stock price his increased by almost 50%. Microsoft’s stock has decreased by 6%. Is this a good deal for Microsoft?  According to a writer from the Scripting News , they say,”Nahh. It’s like the dead leading the blind.” However, one of our required readers,Scoble, who coincidentally is an ex-employee of Microsoft, says this,

This gets Microsoft back into the Web game in a big way and puts a defense around Microsoft’s Office cash-generating-machine. I bet that some of Yahoo’s smartest engineers get moved over to the Office team to help build an online Office that’ll keep Google’s docs and spreadsheets from getting major marketshare inroads.

I agree with Dave Canvin’s post, this also has the potential to put some pressure on Google and may cause a “Web War”. We finally have two of the biggest heavyweights in the modern world possibly going toe-to-toe. What will happen next? Stay tuned, same Bat time, same Bat channel.

by

Tony Elliott