Why did Yahoo turn down Microsoft's offer and — to the disappointment of shareholders, employees and board members — go for Google's instead? Because Google will allow Yahoo to continue selling some search ads to its display advertising clients, while Microsoft would have insisted its sales team handle all Yahoo search buys. Allowing its display advertisers to purchase "integrated media" — search and display together — is very important to Yahoo. But is it important to Yahoo's customers? According to our sources on Madison Avenue, not really. Or, at the very least not yet.
I'm as ready as anyone to declare Sony the victor in the epic high-definition disc battle. Its Blu-ray, now supported by Warner Bros., looks set to best Toshiba's HD-DVD. In Hollywood, where they still care about the industrial process of shipping plastic discs by the millions to retail stores, this matters. In the Valley, we've long since moved on. Sony executives still dream of formats, hardware, and an empire of lock-in. To them, "software" means the creative content screened in theaters, dropped into CD players, or played on a videogame console. That's why they're doomed to lose the real war.