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Microsoft corporate culture: invade and conquer

by Miki Saxon

Over at Computerworld David DeJean offers up some good commentary on the proposed Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo.

After a quick look at a couple of Microsoft’s biggest screw-ups, such as Hotmail, Dean says, ‘To be sure, that was a decade ago, and Microsoft has had some time to learn from past mistakes — and it’s gotten plenty of opportunity, with 52 companies bought since 2005, according to Wikipedia. I’ve got to say, I haven’t heard any horror stories. Maybe it has. But if I worked for Yahoo! right now I’d be comparing that acquisitions list to my rolodex and making some calls to find out.’

Granted that this merger-not-of-equals is a long way from happening, but if it does it will definitely feel hostile.

It’s not just the huge disparity of culture and technology—it’s the idea of being invaded and defeated. Corporations are nationalistic and people are rarely creative,capture_of_a_king.jpg productive or happy when they lose their national identity, their culture is destroyed and the conquerors start running things.

It takes enormous tact, diplomacy, openness, and authentic respect (not traits for which Microsoft is known) to merge when things are synergistic, let alone when there’s a history of open warfare.

In a slowing economy I’ll give odds that not just Yahoo’s best, but all the rest, are already burning up recruiter phone lines, spending hours on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites, calling friends, attending networking events and scouring ads looking for a new home.

What would you be doing if you worked at Yahoo?

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