Microsoft's Yahoo Bid Signals Big Things For SaaS, Developers

Solution providers that are now engaged in developing solutions on the Microsoft Live platform may get a huge boost in new business. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant also said that it would be offering incentives to Yahoo employees to stay. But what about all those dedicated Yahoo developers that are delivering innovative cross platform open source APIs based on Yahoo services? More importantly, is a new Yahoo services platform only going to work with .Net APIs?

Architecturally, the Yahoo Developer Network is open to most mainstream technologies. Countless open source lines of code have been written and applications developed that use the Yahoo framework. Yahoo's commitment to open sourcing along with its development strategies might be hindered if Microsoft decides to pull the plug on some of the projects. Bye, bye liberal BSD -- Hello Microsoft Permissive License or Microsoft Community License. The devil is in the details when it comes to licensing code in a community-based developer network.

Yahoo's Developer Network now supports Java, Ruby, PHP and Python, including .Net. These languages support platforms that compete directly with the .Net frameworks. Take the case of the Yahoo User Interface (YUI) library, for instance. YUI is a popular JavaScript library for developing client side browser-based UIs. With the potential acquisition looming, would Microsoft stop its development for a potentially more lucrative Silverlight equivalent? Silverlight requires Microsoft development products as well as a lightweight version of the .Net framework. Microsoft said that it wants to build new solutions but at this point is unclear whether it will affect Yahoo's loyal developer community.

No doubt, Microsoft is buying presence and brand awareness. The company also has its target on Google's growing SaaS business. As the three -- Microsoft, Yahoo and Google -- might soon become two, each offers a unique set of solutions that will ultimately affect solution providers writing applications for each platform.

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The strengths and weaknesses of each ultimately will affect how solution providers will realign their offering. Here's what solution providers need to consider:



- Market leader of corporate based solutions

- The Live platform already in place to counter GoogleDocs

- Possible integration of Facebook with Yahoo (a big push for .Net technologies to change the mind of the masses)


- Dependence on desktop products for its SaaS solutions

- Long history of not accepting industry standards

- Sometimes introducing kludge technologies that don't work.



- New search technology rivals Google

- Dedicated developer following

- Brand recognition


- No mainstream corporate products

- Lags behind in developing key SaaS technologies

- Doing too much to support too many low-end technologies



- Deep market reach in search technology

- With its search Worldwide hub comes online advertizing to many who depend on reaching customers

- Increasing support for open source technologies


- Rudimentary SaaS products and desktop solution

- Too conservative approach to introducing new technologies

- Search engine is primarily the only corporate offering

The push to increase MSN's visibility also will have an impact on key services like Yahoo mail, which might affect SMB productivity. Microsoft's push for the Live ID signing, which now spans its entire online service and product domains might directly affect the Yahoo email platform -- not to mention the ramifications of transferring security and records to the larger MSN platform.