"Yahoo, the brand, will live," Ballmer told BusinessWeek.
Even if the brand lives, though, it is unclear which of Yahoo's technologies Microsoft will adopt. A merged company will need to choose among two e-mail systems, two ad platforms, and two instant-messaging systems, to name just a few of the many overlaps.
Ballmer also echoed Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith's comments--that Microsoft buying Yahoo will increase competition by creating a stronger alternative to Google, whereas other potential options for Yahoo would ultimately reduce competition.
Monday's meeting with analysts came a day after a Google executive said the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo merger could threaten the openness on which the Internet is based. The offer "
"Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies--and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets," he wrote.
CNET News.com readers focused on the changing landscape of the market.
"I bet Google is engaging in misdirection, that it really wants the takeover to succeed," wrote one reader to the News.com TalkBack forum. "It will weaken even Microsoft to spend that much money on the takeover and it will prove very difficult to effectively integrate the Yahoo and Microsoft search and ad efforts."
So how would Microsoft pay for the acquisition, if it went through? It might borrow some of the money. Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said the software company may issue some debt to finance the cash portion of its 50-50 stock and cash offer for Yahoo, instead of drawing down its entire $21 billion cash pile.
"It's likely we're actually going to borrow for the first time," Liddell said.
Yahoo, meanwhile, said in a brief FAQ posted to its site that it is "
Jerry Yang, Yahoo's co-founder and chief executive, issued two rally calls to the troops this week, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The second companywide e-mail in three days included not only encouragement to employees, but touted the company's recent activities.
Just hours after
But since then, "scheduling conflicts" have intervened, forcing the panel to cancel the hearing for the moment, a Democratic aide told CNET News.com on Thursday. A new date has not yet been set.
Business in the Beltway
Even though lawmakers couldn't find time to focus on Microsoft-Yahoo, they did manage to get some other work done.
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly