Hours away now from the Microsoft imposed deadline for Yahoo to negotiate or die. Too dramatic? Not really when you're talking about $40 billion hanging in the balance as well as the future dominance of all things digital.
Too dramatic still? Not so, when you think about Steve Ballmer's decade-long, iron-fisted rule of the world's largest software maker whose entire legacy may hinge on whether this deal goes through; or whether Microsoft will be rebuffed by a cadre of upstarts at a company with a silly name.
I know, I know, not so silly when you consider the wealth and influence Yahoo has created since it was founded in a Stanford dorm room lo those many years ago. But it's Yahoo's legacy too that's at risk if the company shuns this deal and decides to spend immeasurable resources and energy -- in what most believe will be a defense in vain -- trying to fend off the bad boys from Redmond. Legacy aside, if Microsoft goes nuclear, and walks from the deal all together, Yahoo's team runs the risk of a tsunami of fiduciary responsibility lawsuits.
Yahoo's got some problems. Some say the company's status as "victim" was solidified when Microsoft slapped that three-week deadline on Yahoo, well, three weeks ago tomorrow. An arbitrary deadline that injected a healthy dose of drama where it wasn't necessarily needed. But it wasn't arbitrary. Yahoo isn't negotiating. And Microsoft needed to do something to get Yahoo's attention. Chris Liddell, Microsoft's CFO, says the company has "unrealistic expectations" of its own value, leading analysts to believe Yahoo is pushing for $40 a share or higher, when Microsoft, already offering a 62 percent premium, is standing pat at $31.