|Haven’t you heard? Resistance is futile.|
While the ongoing Yahoo-Microsoft nuptials play out (picture a lumbering brutish Steve Ballmer of Microsoft dragging Yahoo’s squealing Yang by the hair to the altar), those of us who actually consume their services are left wondering what the impact will be of the seemingly inevitable consummation. Up until today I was in the camp who thinks it would be a bad marriage from the start because of cultural and technological differences. As a web developer who does more and more work outside of the Microsoft ecosystem I’ve come to depend on the tools and expertise that Yahoo makes freely available to those developing against open standards. There is a veritable treasure trove of material available from the [Yahoo Developer Network] site, including invaluable guidance on development best practices for “exceptional performance”. I admit, working fast and (often) dirty in a fast-paced company, I usually can only aspire to the kind of clean coding that Yahoo advocates — but it was comforting knowing that there were places like Yahoo where passionate people did the right thing as a matter of their culture. And it was the loss of that kind of culture that seemed at risk in the Microsoft takeover.
In retrospect, it kind of makes sense. The dope on Yahoo and Google is that they are cool places to work; very young, very quick. Microsoft, on the other hand is the Borg — a collective of corporate drones; not young, not quick. But as anyone who has worked in a large company knows — youth and speed is often a deadly combination. Young workers — and young companies, too — can benefit from the structure that a boring established organization can confer. I think Yahoo could benefit from the cultural embrace of the Borg — and the collective could benefit from an infusion of new ideas. Time will tell.