Let the speculation begin. Microsoft’s unsolicited bid for Yahoo has the tech world abuzz. There are numerous implications if such a merger were to materialize. We’re far off from that happening – it will take some time to shake everything out. There are already rumors that Yahoo is exploring other options, including an alliance with Google to either thwart the Microsoft bid, or try to extract a bigger selling price. Perhaps one of the more interesting implications centers on wireless. Both Yahoo and Microsoft have impressive wireless strategies. Among the more obvious goals of this Microsoft bid, it may also be an attempt to head off Google advances into the coveted wireless space.
Yahoo and Microsoft have some pretty impressive wireless forays already. Microsoft’s mobile operating system, Windows Mobile, is on 150 handsets and is available from over 100 different wireless operators from across the globe. Windows Mobile will ship on about 20 million handsets this year alone. Yahoo has struck wireless alliances with the likes of AT&T, Vodaphone, T-Mobile, and Rogers to feature Yahoo mobile wireless applications, including ad and search capabilities. A combined Microsoft-Yahoo could create a compelling integrated suite of services for wireless operators and consumers that may trump anything Google tries to do with Android. Mobile wireless represents the next big growth engine for broadband. Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google understand that, and they are now positioning themselves to take full advantage of it.