Microsoft offers billions for Yahoo

Microsoft is seeking to expand its internet presence in its traditional fashion: by spending a great big chunk of change. The company has just offered

Microsoft is seeking to expand its internet presence in its traditional fashion: by spending a great big chunk of change. The company has just offered $44.6bn (£22.4bn) for Yahoo's mail, instant messaging and search engine systems, as well as Yahoo-owned sites like Flickr.  

If the offer is accepted, the purveyor of yellow, happy-faced internet services could become Bill Gates' new plaything by the second half of this year.

Yahoo has suffered in recent years at the hands of Google's more popular search engine, laying off 1,000 employees just last month. But the run to Google has hit Microsoft in the proverbials as well: Hotmail numbers are in decline, as is use of the MSN search engine. Fancy makeovers of both sites have done little to woo users back.

The combination of Microsoft's software savvy with Yahoo's reach would be a powerful internet double whammy. Do we hear a collective gulp from Google HQ?