Clearly, Microsoft looking to acquire Yahoo! suggests a direct run at Google. And I’ve heard rumblings from people over the years about various Yahoo! products being superior to their Google counterparts: Y! mail, for instance, lead Gmail in innovations for quite some time before Gmail started catching up again late last year. And I’ve heard only good things about Yahoo!’s User Interface Library, though I personally haven’t spent a lot of time investigating it.
But MS and Yahoo! both have struggled to capture the public’s imagination nearly as much as Google continually does. It looks like a long shot to me. But if I were making the decisions at MS, I would absolutely do it. If nothing else, Yahoo! is a far less hated brand than almost anything Microsoft owns. Heck, that’s got to be worth millions all by itself.