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Can Microsoft's army of programmers write software for the Web? Judging by a spate of recent outages, no. Hotmail, Messenger, and other services targeted at developers and partners have broken down recently. Which is bizarre: Writing an operating system is a vastly more complex affair than coding a website. "Like war versus paintball," says Ted Dziuba, the programmer and former editor of startup-debunker blog Uncov. Therein lies Microsoft's problem. Once you've trained to fight a real war, you can forget about winning at paintball.

Explains Dziuba:

When you play with someone who has been in the military, they spend 10 minutes before the match going over strategy when all you really want to do is play. In the end, the civilians on the team end up shooting the marine because he's barking orders to everyone on the field who is just trying to have a good time.

Microsoft bid $44.6 billion for Yahoo to get a paintball team. Can you imagine what will happen when they send in the marines from Redmond? "War" does not begin to describe it.

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)