A couple weeks ago, we pointed out that the guys at Silicon Beat had heard a bizarre rumor that Microsoft was interested in buying Claria, and in checking up on it, found that the story was denied (they also found that Claria's investors have been distancing themselves from the company). So, Silicon Beat is justifiably surprised to see the NY Times running a story saying that the rumors are true and Microsoft is really interested in shelling out $500 million for one of the most hated companies in the world. If it's true, and we side with Silicon Beat that it seems unlikely, then it would be an incredibly bad move for Microsoft. It makes almost no sense. Microsoft has been talking up all of their efforts to stop spyware and suddenly they'd go out and buy one of the biggest problems in the space? Unless it's to shut the company down completely and put out a massive apology, it's hard to understand why Microsoft would even entertain the idea. The Times article notes that the deal might fall apart as at least someone in Microsoft seems to realize how bad a deal this is. The rationale for doing the deal from inside Microsoft seems to be that such an acquisition would give them a leg up in the online advertising world. That's not true. It would be the opposite. It would give them a leg up in the intrusive, annoying advertising world -- which is an unsustainable model. It would also create all sorts of conflicts of interest -- especially since the only reason Claria really makes money is due to their surreptitious installs. Even as they're trying to change their reputation by offering to sell behavioral banner ads, the info they're doing it on is based on surreptitious installs -- the same ones that Microsoft's anti-spyware tool removes. The deal seems so ridiculous and so unlikely that it's hard to believe it could possibly be true.
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