Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...

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Friday, February 8, 2008

"We're not saying we WILL reject the bid..."

From Yahoo!:

Yahoo Investor Met with Microsoft on Offer

I love this type of article, and it's an insight into how some business works.

Allow me to indulge in fantasy. Here's what I think happened:

Steve Balmer's sitting at his desk in Redmond. The intercom\phone bleeps almost noiselessly. Balmer presses a button.

"Yes?"

A cool but pleasant female voice waifs into the room.

"Mr. Balmer, Bob Jones from Capital Research and Management has arrived for his appointment."

"Yes, thank you. Send him in." Balmer presses the button again, and says the word "Open" to no one in particular. The double doors to his office slowly creek open, into his office, automatically.

Bob Jones strolls in, dressed in a crisp navy blue suit, light blue tie, and a white shirt.

Jones (extends his hand): "You suck at golf."

Balmer (grasps Jones' hand and shakes it vigorously): "Yeah, well, you suck at Poker. Bite me. Sit down." (motions to the black leather, overstuffed couch on the opposite side of the room.)

(Jones sits, nearly engulfed in the black leather. He crosses his leg over the other, and gets right to the point.)

J: "So this Yahoo! thing..."

B: "Yeah, I told you we would do it. Remember? You lost an extra $1000 at poker that night. Now if I had just taken your bet on the Patriots..."

J: "Oh, yeah, hind sight 20-20, yah yah yah, listen, let me ask you a question..."

(pause -- Balmer looks him over, up and down. His mind reading isn't what it used to be, but his Spider Sense is definitely tingling...or was that lunch?...)

J: "Let's say...hypothetically, of course...let's say that the Yahoo board of directors sits down, has a few beers, lattes, or bottled waters, and discusses this bid of yours. And let's say, hypothetically, they decide 'You know...I think we're worth more than $44.6 billion.'..."

(another pause -- Spider Sense replaced by blaring alarm klaxoning in his head. The last time this happened, he started getting I Love You emails from some bitch named Melissa...)

B: "So, what are you saying? You saying you'll REJECT the offer?"

J (standing up...this took a little time...the couch seemed to want him to stay...): "Oh, no...please. We're not saying we WILL reject the bid...but let's say it happens. I mean, it COULD happen. Just because Yahoo started up in a garage doesn't mean we're not out to grow the business, make money, retire to an island in the Pacific, or in the middle of Lake Michigan... But just for argument sake...how much higher would you be willing to go to takeover Yahoo?"

(pause -- Balmer is speechless. Jones makes a mental note of the date, time, and weather...this is history...)

J (taking advantage of the silence, knowing it won't last long...and he DOES have an ace up the sleeve): "Steve, we own 11 percent of Yahoo. We own 6 percent of Microsoft. We're going to make money regardless. We think...well, we think you can do a LITTLE better, after some of the crap you've pulled on us. I mean, come on, what the hell was Microsoft Bob, a sick joke?"

B: "Look, I told you before...someone let the wrong code out to publishing. I mean, that was CONCEPT, not even CLOSE to being ready, but we had to do SOMEthing ..."

J: "...oh, and let's not EVEN get into Vista. Did you feed the developers too much alcohol again?" (Reference for this joke is here)

B (starting to sweat): "Bob, please, I can explain...they WANTED security, and so we gave it to them..."

J (waving his hand): "Whatever, whatever, it was a disaster, and we want some reassurance you're not pulling that crap on us again. C'mon...give me a figure..."

B: "Well, I really don't know...I say we sit down and discuss it over a game of Halo 3. What do you say?"

J (raising an eyebrow): "That's a good idea. But I'd rather stand..."

(4 hours later. Both men have their jackets off, ties undone; empty bowls of cheese dip, tortilla chips, and spent water bottles and soda cans litter the table and floor; Balmer's tie is wrapped around his head, Jones' tie is an armband on his right arm)

B (chucking the controller on the floor): "That was WRONG, man...WRONG...you're not supposed to hide THERE!..."

J: "It doesn't matter WHERE I hide, jackass...it's if you survive the shot...and you didn't...so pony up...that's best of 11. What are you offering me?"

...and the rest...well, we'll just have to wait and see...

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