Reuters in Seattle has an interesting article on New Zealander and former rugby player Chris Liddell, who became Microsoft's chief financial officer in 2005. It explains why Microsoft is now behaving unlike the Microsoft of the previous 30 years. It says:
In about three years, he has helped transform Microsoft from a miser that socked away money for a rainy day into a spendthrift, and he has successfully challenged the philosophy that Microsoft, given enough time and resources, should build its own technology to take on all comers.Liddell has completed nearly 50 deals since joining the company in May 2005. His boldest move yet, Microsoft's $41.9 billion offer to buy Yahoo Inc would use up nearly all of a legendary cash stockpile Liddell inherited.Other companies such as IBM, Oracle, Cisco and Google already buy dozens of companies. In fact, IBM claimed to be "the most acquisitive company in the technology industry, based on volume of transactions" ... and that was before it spent $5 billion buying Cognos.Whether it makes financial sense for Microsoft to offer Yahoo about 50% than it's worth is, of course, another issue.Another thought: Having up to $64 billion in cash made Microsoft an obvious target for chancers keen to make a quick buck without actually doing any useful work, such as patent trolls and the European Commission. Will that change if Microsoft has no money in the bank?