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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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March 25, 2008 1:49 PM

Microsoft radar: Clock ticks on Yahoo; iPhone apps from Redmond?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

After a lull before and after Easter weekend, it seems the tidbits on the Yahoo acquisition front are starting to roll in again.

Kara Swisher reported today that Yahoo took its sunny investor presentation on the road to, um, investors last week. The reception: "While the group met with polite audiences, most investors I talked to were unenthusiastic about the plan and dubious that Yahoo's blue-sky hopes would come through," Swisher wrote.

The presentation, remember, was viewed as an attempt by Yahoo to justify going it alone and/or pressing Microsoft for a higher bid.

At least one analyst is expecting just that. Citigroup's Mark Mahaney moved his rating on Yahoo from "hold" to "buy" late Monday. He also raised his price target to $34 from $31 a share, indicating he thinks Microsoft's bid will eventually rise.

Meanwhile, Henry Blodget is asking when Yahoo will hold its shareholder meeting. The timing of that announcement is important because the company early this month revised its bylaws to move the deadline for nominating board directors to 10 days after the meeting date is set. So0, when the meeting is finally announced, it will be Microsoft's turn. The company's likely move is to submit its slate of director candidates within 10 days. For Yahoo's board, the appearance of their would-be replacements could nudge them to the bargaining table.

The conclusion of both of these heavyweight pundits: The clock is ticking and Yahoo's choices, apart from entering negotiations with Microsoft, are slim and none.

In other news, Fortune has an interesting interview with Tom Gibbons, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Specialized Devices and Applications Group, who said a team of Microsofties in Mountain View, Calif., has spent the last week checking out the iPhone software development kit from Apple. No definitive word from Gibbons on whether Microsoft's Mac Business Unit will be developing apps for the iPhone. If it does, the likely candidate would be extensions of Office for Mac.

Recall that Apple acknowledged earlier this month that it had licensed Exchange ActiveSync, the Microsoft technology that hooks up mobile devices with Microsoft Exchange for synchronizing e-mail, calendars and contacts.

Meanwhile, I wonder whether Microsoft's emerging consumer phone efforts could benefit from working with the iPhone SDK. Roz Ho, a Microsoft executive recently promoted to head the company's new team working on premium mobile experiences, spent four years as GM of the Mac Business Unit.

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