One of the latest, and most intriguing, rumors circulating comes to us via an interview with a Merril Lynch financial advisor. The advisor suggested that perhaps MSN “shoulda, woulda, coulda” aquire Yahoo!, magically meld the two together, and presto! A new search engine that would bring the major competition down to a head-on-head match between “MSNYahoo” and Google. Statistics on percent of the search market currently held by Google versus the combo of MSN and Yahoo! would equalize the playing field (assuming the merger didn’t push anyone over to Google who may have liked Yahoo!).
I don’t generally like to comment on rumors, but I had to make an exception here. As “logical” as this move may sound, I just can’t see Yahoo! giving up the game and handing the reins over to MSN. Plus, the disruption for both companies inherent in the mechanics of such a merger would, IMHO, make Google even stronger during the interim. Would former Yahoo! users who switched to Google while the merger was underway all jump eagerly back to what would then be an MSN search engine? Hard to say. That’s why I don’t like to comment on rumors. They are just too darn hard to speculate from and, like the old childhood game, each time the tale is told, it changes just a little bit. Who knows? By the end of the day, the story may be that MSN and Google are planning to merge …. could that ever happen, at least in this time-space continuum?