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.