Sunday, February 24, 2008

"No to nuclear power, solar energy first"

One of the big news items of the weekend is Ralph Nader's decision to run for President in 2008. Nader supporters and detractors alike are familiar with his career, his contributions to society and his influence on the American political landscape.

But what does this have to do with technology, which is what this blog is about?

Well, one of Nader's positions is "No to nuclear power, solar energy first". At first glance this seems like a self-contradictory position for an alternative energy support. Both nuclear power and solar energy are practically limitless sources of energy compared to fossil fuels. So why choose one specifically over the other? The answers are in this article Why Not Nuclear Power?. The arguments are related to safety (not just the safety of the reactor but the safe disposal of nuclear wastes which can contaminate for centuries) and economics. The WWF's position paper has further details and lays out the vision for the future of energy.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Microsoft Offers $44.6bn For Yahoo!

Earlier this morning Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced that it had placed an offer before the Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) board to acquire all outstanding shares of Yahoo! at $31 per share, payable in the form of $31 in cash or 0.9509 of a share of Microsoft common stock, subject to the proration that one half of Yahoo shares will be acquired for cash and the other half for Microsoft shares. Based on yesterday's closing price of Microsoft shares - $32.60 - the deal valued Yahoo! at around $44.6bn. Predictably, Yahoo! shares shot up by 48% to close at $28.38 while Microsoft shares fell around 7% to close at $30.45. Right-now, that values Yahoo! at around $43bn.

Many are interpreting this a sign of Microsoft's desperation in the battle of dominance against Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). On the Yahoo! side, it's definitely a big boost given their dismal outlook and impending layoffs, announced just three days ago. The Yahoo! co-founders will make a lot of money from this deal:

Value of Yahoo! co-founders at $31/sh Microsoft offer

It's still far from being a done deal. The offer price is below Yahoo!'s 52-wk high of $34.08 which they hit less than four months ago. Post-acquisition integration of the companies is also no trivial task. As an example, Microsoft will have to choose between Yahoo! News and MSNBC due to their exclusivity agreements with NBC. With such a large acquisition there are also the inevitable cultural differences which are best summed by this picture:


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