I was so damned excited yesterday to see Yahoo preparing to put up a Mel Gibson style Braveheart fight against Microsoft, Google and anyone else that tried to screw with their freedom. But if the reports of Yahoo exploring a merger with AOL are true, this battle could sizzle out quickly and pathetically.
AOL’s great, and I appreciate the effort they are putting into creating quality, cutting edge web services. But AOL plugs none of Yahoo’s holes – no search marketing platform (Google handles that for them). No algorithmic search technology (ditto). And very few actual searches (they have 5% market share, or less).
Now I certainly don’t have the answers Yahoo needs to stay independent and relevant (that’s why I still think the Microsoft deal is going to happen), but making one more big mistake is not going to suddenly turn everything around. If Yahoo wants to take control of AOL’s various properties and users, fine. But they still need to figure out a way to compete with Google.
By the way, the Times is using “A source close to Yahoo!’s thinking” in reporting these rumors. I’m not even sure what that means.