If you ask an investment banker, the only way Microsoft is going to compete against Google is to acquire a dying 1990s Internet brand. Gabelli & Co. analyst Christopher Marangi now wants the company to acquire AOL from Time Warner. He writes:
AOL has its challenges, but no other available Internet asset possess its breadth or scale. An acquisition of AOL would modestly increase MSFT’s search share, boost its page views and give it the dominant third-party ad network in Platform A.
Marangi recommends Microsoft pay $12 billion. We do not. BoomTown's Kara Swisher says if Microsoft is serious about search, it needs to buy more market share. But AOL's corner of the search market is not the corner Microsoft wants to own.
"Sometimes I tell my clients, if they're looking to target the over-65 crowd on the Web, not to worry about demographics — just go buy AOL," one agency exec tells us.
Microsoft's money would be much better put toward making an offer for a company that at least kind of, sort of owns a platform that maybe somebody could be as powerful as Google — Facebook. Microsoft should make Mark Zuckerberg a $12 billion-plus offer he can't refuse — even if his investors' lawyers have to prove it to him. (Photo by Michi W...)