Microsoft's "seamless" transition

In a cat-and-mouse storyline worthy of an old Tom and Jerry cartoon, Yahoo continues to pull out all the stops in its efforts to resist Microsoft's acquisition overtures. The latest: The New York Times reports that while Microsoft is preparing to ramp up its takeover bid by launching a proxy contest this week, Yahoo will attempt to delay the maneuver by extending the deadline for nominating directors until 10 days after announcing a date for its annual meeting, buying time as it continues its merger negotiations with AOL. Word is Microsoft was preparing to nominate a series of directors to the Yahoo board, but the embattled web services firm said it's going to need more time to mull its alternatives: "As the company has not yet announced the date of this year's annual meeting, the amendment will give stockholders who want to nominate one or more directors, including Microsoft Corp., more time to do so," Yahoo said in a statement. "The amendment does not preclude any party from nominating one or more directors at any time prior to the new deadline." Under the laws of Delaware, where Yahoo is incorporated, public companies cannot go more than 13 months without an annual meeting…and since Yahoo held its 2007 annual meeting on June 12, time is on its side.  

Maybe time is on Microsoft's side as well: While the company is chomping at the bit to seal the Yahoo deal and begin raking in the advertising revenue, chief software architect Ray Ozzie admits to The Financial Times Microsoft will not rush a merger of their respective platforms, even if it means delaying some shareholder benefits. "Technology companies, if they dive in and just smash things together for smashing them together's sake, it's reckless--it's just simply reckless," Ozzie said. "They have a number of different types of technologies. They have their own corporate culture."

Speaking last week at the MIX08 event in Las Vegas, Ozzie also teased Microsoft's vision for a "seamless mesh" computing infrastructure, touting "the possibilities of unified application management across the device mesh, centralized, web-based deployment of device-based applications...an app platform that's cognizant of all of your devices." Sounds cool, but given that these applications will need to be "refactored" (Ozzie's term) to work in concert with one another, it seems safe to assume Microsoft will face some significant challenges adapting Yahoo's applications to its plans--challenges Microsoft is already tackling with its recent interoperability initiatives. Yahoo can keep playing hard-to-get, but Microsoft is playing chess...and it's already thinking three moves ahead. -Jason

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