Microsoft-Yahoo: What Will Stay And What Will Go?

microsoft.jpgWhile the tech world waits to see whether Yahoo will accept Microsoft’s $44.6 billion takeover bid, Microsoft and Yahoo employees sleep restlessly at the prospect of massive staff cuts if the takeover goes ahead. There’s a lot of duplication between Yahoo and Microsoft’s internet arms and services will shut and/ or be downsized as content and services from each cross-pollinate across the merged entity.

Here’s some upcoming clashes and which side/ service may continue into the future.

MSN vs Yahoo (front page)

yahoomsn.jpgThe likelihood of the Yahoo brand and front page being retired is zero and zilch, so that would put MSN in the spotlight. Microsoft launched MSN in 1995 so the brand has history, however Microsoft’s move towards Windows Live and branding has diluted the value of the MSN brand. Surprising though, the comScore figures (graph right) shows that traffic on both are nearly equal. Reports already suggest that Microsoft will have to divest its stake in MSNBC due to an exclusive supply agreement with NBC, so expect that MSN may be offered for sale as well. It may also go some way in overcoming any potential competition concerns at a Governmental level. There’s only so much room for key brands, and presuming (logically) that Microsoft will keep Live alive due to the Windows tie-in, MSN is the likely brand to go.

Conclusion: MSN to be sold or wound down in favor of Yahoo and (Windows) Live.

MSN International vs Yahoo International

Outside of the United States gets more interesting as both Yahoo and Microsoft have co-ownership agreements in many international markets, for example Yahoo7 vs Ninemsn in Australia. Many of the existing partners are also commercial rivals in respective markets, causing issues for a combined Microsoft-Yahoo maintaining all existing partnerships. There may also be competition concerns in some markets as well.

Conclusion: Existing partnerships to be divested or shut internationally, with a slant towards maintaining Yahoo’s deals

Account Management: Yahoo ID vs Live ID

Merging two different ID systems will be interesting, but not impossible. Microsoft and Yahoo already offer country specific and occasionally service specific ID’s. Both have moved towards implementing OpenID.

Conclusion: a new unified ID system that will work across all properties in the combined entity with existing ID’s and also OpenID as well.

Personalized Home Page: My Yahoo vs Live

Yahoo will remain, but the bigger question is exactly what Microsoft will do with Live. The brand won’t disappear, but we may see it used in different ways, possibly even as Yahoo Live or similar. The personalized Live product maybe on borrowed time.

Conclusion: My Yahoo to stay, possibly Live powered by Yahoo.

Yahoo Search vs Live Search

Another hard one, but definitely as space where two will end up as one. Yahoo’s search product has never been a strong point, and Microsoft has pumped a lot of money into Live. A combined unit that keeps the best talent from both may finally come close to creating a Google killer.

Conclusion: Live Search to replace Yahoo Search on Yahoo.

Search Advertising: Yahoo Search Marketing vs Microsoft AdCenter

Microsoft has aggressively landed sites such as Facebook and Digg for its ads, where as Yahoo squandered its opportunity with Panama. Neither platform is perfect, but on the balance Microsoft AdCenter will become the one platform across the combined company, with YPN to be integrated into that.

Conclusion: Microsoft adCenter will win the day

Some quick ones:

Games (Yahoo vs MSN):
Yahoo games has the longest history and will continue to be maintained within the Yahoo portal.

IM: combined client that supports both, and other IM platforms. Branding could be interesting here as it could go either way…or perhaps maintain both.

Mapping: Microsoft. Live Maps will be provided by the Yahoo portal, giving a leg up to what (particularly in 3D) is a market leading product in terms of tech that not enough people know about

Mail: interesting due to Microsoft’s tie-in with Outlook/ Windows, and the desire to maintain a Windows look. It probably should go to Yahoo, but I think on something as big as email Microsoft will win the day in terms of the platform used to unify both. Various email addresses (like hotmail before it) to continue to work

Q&A: Yahoo Answers to win the day, and I’m betting most people didn’t know Microsoft had a service like this, but they do.

Photo-sharing: Flickr is the obvious answer, but photo-sharing is a key battleground with Google. It depends on what Microsoft does with its Live branded downloads, but I’ll bet on a Flickr Live photo management tool for Windows that replicates Picasa.

Widgets: Microsoft, if only because Microsoft widgets come pre-installed with Vista. Yahoo Widgets possibly sold off; it would seem to be a waste to kill them off.

And super-quick: Mobile: Yahoo, Website services: Yahoo/ Geocities, Blogging: Live, Social Bookmarking:, Events: Upcoming, Music Service: Zune Marketplace (with some implementation onto Yahoo itself), Music Software: WMP (given), Mashup Tools: Popfly.

There are even more services than this, if you’d like to add any, or give your opinion on one service over another, feel free to do so in the comments.