Microsoft + Yahoo = iPhone e-mail trouble? | iLounge Backstage

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Microsoft + Yahoo = iPhone e-mail trouble?

Two years ago, or even six months ago, Microsoft could have bought Yahoo and it probably wouldn’t have mattered a lick to me or you. This morning’s news that Microsoft is aggressively trying to make the deal happen is a little frightening, however, as I think back to that January event where Apple introduced iPhone. And there was that weird little part where Apple announced a partnership with Yahoo for iPhone e-mail—you know, the part where instead of getting a free .Mac account, which everyone would have expected, you get a free Yahoo e-mail account with your iPhone.

Let’s just say Microsoft bought Yahoo. There is probably an ironclad contract in place protecting Apple against a disruption of the Yahoo e-mail service if, say, Microsoft decided that all Yahoo mail accounts were renamed to “yhotmail” accounts or “ynotMicrosoft.com” accounts, or Yahoo Mail just didn’t work properly after an acquisition. So I’ll assume, or at least hope, that Apple’s safe against that.

But does Apple really want Microsoft having any part in the iPhone whatsoever? With access to whatever confidential details Yahoo knows about the product’s functionality, or just bragging rights that their holdings are so ubiquitous that even the iPhone can’t get around them? I’d think not. In any case, I’m hoping that Apple has a Plan B in place (see: free .Mac account) in case this deal actually does go through. No iPhone user is going to cry if Yahoo not-so-mysteriously disappears from the product in favor of an equally good or better solution—all I’m wondering at this point is what they ever brought to the table (Push rather than pull e-mail?) that Apple needed in the first place. Readers, any thoughts?

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Comments

1

Actually, I thought the same thing when I heard about this potential acquisition by MS.

Naturally, it impacts more than just yahoo push mail.  There is a significant ties between AT&T and Yahoo for all of their DSL services and mail client.  In fact, I believe Yahoo is the contracted provider for all of AT&T email service soon, based on what I’ve seen.

So iPhone is exclusive with who?...

From growth point of view, Apple with all if its cash, could acquire someone to counter or get tied closer with Google - which is a board member.  Clearly gmail can do what yahoo mail does, if they so desire…

Posted by zero2sixty on May 4, 2007 at 1:21 PM (CDT)

2

I’d rather see Apple go with Google too. Yahoo is such an invasive company. And since both are free it wouldn’t hurt anybody to switch to Gmail, or just use the free email address that comes with your ISP!

Posted by rg_spb on May 4, 2007 at 2:00 PM (CDT)

3

I don’t see what the big deal is. I for one had no plans on using Yahoo specifically for my email on my iPhone. It shouldn’t be difficult for Apple to incorporate other push email servers as desired, should MS try to muck it up. I think it was probably smarter for Apple not to put all its services eggs in one corporate basket.

A bigger issue might be that Yahoo mail would follow the path of hotmail, and have specific issues with Mac OS email clients, eg. not handling Mac email attachments properly.

Posted by jmain on May 4, 2007 at 3:34 PM (CDT)

4

I’d prefer to see Gmail support anyway. I have their mail application on my Blackberry, and it works great.

Posted by Tommy on May 4, 2007 at 4:47 PM (CDT)

5

Actually MS buying Yahoo would be a good thing for Apple.

Let’s say MS has 60 B in cash. Yahoo’s market cap is $44B. Shareholders would want say $50B. Now if MS buys Yahoo straight out it would be left with $10B in cash- a very vulnerable state for a company that’s viewed more and more like a second hand tech company.

Now, what if it borrows money, it would be left with huge debt to pay off monthly or quarterly. Again not good thing for a company with stale products that seems in disarray.

So what about Apple? It just looks for another player; maybe Google to team up with. Hey Apple has $15B in cash it can afford to burn a little to get mail to 10MM iphone users and dominate this market too!

Posted by lrd on May 4, 2007 at 5:09 PM (CDT)

6

The main reason a company like Microsoft would want to buy a company like Yahoo is to disguise a horrible outlook for its business or stock price.  It bodes ill for everyone else, yes, including Mac users of the barely friendly Yahoo services.

There’s a big upside for google though.  Microsoft can’t code.  And yes, free .Mac, even limited, would be fantastic.  .Mac Pro anyone?

Posted by LiM on May 4, 2007 at 6:48 PM (CDT)

7

I agree with LIM.

In addition, another trick companies use is to wait late in a quarter to announce an acquistion. It must allow them to hide a disappointing quarter somehow.

Posted by lrd on May 4, 2007 at 10:20 PM (CDT)

8

For us Entourage users and the many, many Outlook users, it might be a good thing. I doubt Apple is losing any sleep. Just as it used Musicmatch as a stopgap years ago, Apple will eventually offer its own email service (but please—not .Mac).

Posted by technolawyer on May 4, 2007 at 11:28 PM (CDT)

9

Plus side: MSFT would blow a lot of cash. It would be like AOL/Tim Warner; dumb + dumb = dumber.

Minus side: bye, bye Flickr.

Posted by tom b on May 4, 2007 at 11:52 PM (CDT)

10

The very last thing I care about is Yahoo’s free IMAP for the iPhone.  I have a .Mac account (and yes I love it) for my friends and family and I have Gmail for everything else.

What I really care about is Flickr+del.icio.us.  I think I can replace the latter… but the only alternative I can think of for Flickr is Picasa Web Albums.  It recently upgraded it’s storage… but it’s still not exactly my favorite place to post Photos.

Posted by Sebastian Lewis on May 5, 2007 at 7:55 PM (CDT)

11

I think Microsoft already owns a hefty share of Apple anyway…didn’t bill gates get a lot of stock in the patent settlement back in the day?  I’m pretty sure that making MS Office updated was part of the deal too..and hence the reason they continue the stange dance they do…

Posted by Sam Adams on May 15, 2007 at 11:08 AM (CDT)

12

I read that Intermedia is supporting email for the iPhone, and when Microsoft ActiveSync support becomes available, Intermedia will offer accounts with it included.

Posted by hailey on August 23, 2007 at 2:48 PM (CDT)

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