When Microsoft announced its $44 billion bid for Yahoo, we noted the vast differences in the technology infrastructure built by the two companies. Microsoft (MSFT) has standardized on its own operating systems and servers, while Yahoo (YHOO) has optimized its operations on open source software, especially FreeBSD, PHP and Hadoop. So what happens if the merger goes through. Does Microsoft convert Yahoo’s data center infrastructure to its own platform? Or does Microsoft leave Yahoo’s apps intact and become one of the Internet’s largest users of open source technologies?
Speculation abounds, but some is more informed than others. On Friday Kevin Johnson, president of the Microsoft Platforms & Services Division, sent an email to employees that addressed some of the many “what if” questions about combining with Yahoo. Johnson says Microsoft might retain some open source infrastructure if its Yahoo bid succeeds. Here’s an excerpt from the Q-and-A format that addresses the infrastructure platform issues:
Q: If we move forward with a combination, what’s our plan for addressing Yahoo!’s technology infrastructure, since it’s non-Windows based?
A: Services we’ve acquired over the years have been based on both Windows and open source technologies. Although Windows is our strategic platform and in some cases the teams ultimately migrated their products to Windows for a variety of reasons, in other cases we have prioritized continuity and have used open interoperability mechanisms to achieve effective systems integration. Yahoo! has made significant investments in both its skills and technologies, so we would work closely with Yahoo! engineers to make pragmatic platform and integration methodology decisions as appropriate, prioritizing above all how those decisions would impact customers.
If you’ve been tracking the Microsoft-Yahoo takeover battle (and who hasn’t?) you’ll want to check out the entire memo.