Microsoft Tries to Snap Up Yahoo for $42Bln

SAN FRANCISCO -- Unable to topple Google on its own, Microsoft is trying to force crippled rival Yahoo into a merger, with a wager worth nearly $42 billion that the two companies together will have a better chance of tackling the Internet search leader.

Microsoft's audacious attempt to buy Yahoo, spelled out in an unsolicited offer announced Friday, shows just how much Google threatens the world's largest software maker's grip on how people interact with computers.

For Yahoo, the bid represents another painful reminder of how missed opportunities and mismanagement combined to open the door for Google to supplant it as the Internet's main gateway, decimating its stock price in the process.

Microsoft is trying to avoid a similar fate at Google's hands as more people access services and computer programs online instead of relying on packaged software applications.

Although Microsoft remains the world's most valuable technology company, its position will become more precarious unless it can cultivate a more loyal Internet audience and generate more online ad revenue to subsidize the free services taken for granted on the Internet.

"Microsoft has to do this deal. It's a battle that Microsoft needs to win," said AMR Research analyst Jonathan Yarmis.