Microsoft + Yahoo: RIP?

So is it really over?

So this has been quite the horror show, hasn't it? It's like Barbarians at the Gate meets Nightmare on Elm Street. Just when you think the Boogie Man has been defeated, dismembered, stabbed, staked, burned to a crisp, dumped into the sea, and buried in various landfills across Northern New Jersey, he rises back up to strike fear (and loathing) into our hearts.

That's what this saga has been, lo these many months. It's lasted longer than the Simpsons. Infoworld alone has published dozens of stories about it. And even though I write that headline, I'm not sure I really believe it. First, there's Ballmer's official response at Microsoft's earnings call this week:

"It didn't work out, fine, we're done, we can move on. Does that mean nobody will ever talk to anybody again? I suspect the answer to that is also no. It's a long time and a big world, but we are moving on."

Quiz: How do you know Steve Ballmer is spreading more fear, uncertainty, and doubt? His vocal chords are engaged.

Then there's Yahoo's brilliant/awful move of appointing Carl Icahn to its board, instantly shutting the guy up. (And about time, because at this point even his mother would getting annoyed with him.) Then they throw another bone at him by offering two more seats on the board to people who might maybe think the way he does.

So is it really over? I don't think so. For one thing, Icahn's goal wasn't to sit on yet another board, it was to bend another corporation to his will. Whether he's Batman or the Joker in this scenario depends on your point of view, but just giving him a seat at the table doesn't change squat; he wants to redecorate.

And Ballmer, in his sweaty blustery way, still leaves the door open.... for something.

"In the search business, let's face it, this is not about Yahoo. This is a two-horse race, it's Microsoft and it's Google."

Big, yes. But apparently not big enough for Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo. Sigh.

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