The potential merger of Microsoft and Yahoo will put the two companies' Web apps in internal conflict. In some cases, a Microsoft app might replace a Yahoo app. But in more cases, products from Yahoo, a company built for the online platform, will be the ones to survive. Here are likely outcomes from what would surely become a multiyear internal struggle.
Portals and start pages: Yahoo.com
Portal pages like My Yahoo and MSN.com, and their personal page counterparts My Yahoo and My MSN, act as big advertisements to whatever products and media the company wants to push on a given day. Yahoo and MSN will likely keep their distinct brands for a good long time while the underlying platforms and user bases are merged. On the surface, the products themselves are more alike than different. But online content and indexing is Yahoo's main business; it will pick up this battle. Winner: Yahoo.
Yahoo, founded on Internet search, has three times the search market share of Microsoft. Microsoft will kill its good-money-after-bad Web search project and move its users over to Yahoo. Winner: Yahoo.
Email: Yahoo Mail
I give the nod to the killer development team over at Yahoo, which came over in the OddPost acquisition. While most of those people are now on other Yahoo projects, the OddPost platform is slick and innovative. Microsoft could slowly move its users over. Winner: Yahoo.
Mapping: Yahoo Local Maps
vs. Live Search Maps
Microsoft has the pretty bird's eye view and a 3D map viewer plug-in (which is cool but slow on many machines). But Yahoo has a better fundamental mapping product that allows click-and-drag rerouting. Google Maps is still more useful than both. Winner: a merger, hopefully, of Microsoft's features with Yahoo's nicer UI.
Photo sharing. Flickr
vs. Live Spaces
Even though I think Flickr is too weird for the real world and that Yahoo should not have killed its straightforward and smooth Yahoo Photos, Microsoft buries its photo site in its blogging platform, Live Spaces. It's a nice tool but the content and the users have hewn to Flickr, due to its community-forward features like group tags and its open API. Winner: Yahoo.
Ever heard of Listas? Exactly. Winner: Yahoo. (Actually, Microsoft has money in Digg, but it doesn't own it.)
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