Tuesday, February 12, 2008


As I watch Microsoft (MSFT) and Yahoo! (YHOO) go at it, I’m beginning to think the exclamation point could be an effective anti-takeover device. In Microsoft's press release today relaying the bad news about Yahoo!'s rejection of its overtures, the would-be acquirer was forced to append that incongruously cheery symbol to its adversary's name over and over. (Yahoo! Yahoo! Yahoo! Yippee!) Rather humiliating, really, and it also made Microsoft's own name seem extra-bland, just like PC Guy from those TV commercials.

If I were Microsoft this would drive me crazy, and I’d probably give up on Yahoo! and seek consolation by heading off to the nearest Taco Bell to choke down a Gordita Supreme, only to realize Taco Bell is owned by Yum! Brands (YUM), at which point life would simply seem too cruel.

The dreaded exclamation point also screwed up today’s New York Post headline, which without it would have been “Yahoo Hoo-ha,” with the company’s name as an adjective, but came out “Yahoo! Hoo-ha,” which is really a different thing altogether.

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