Is Microsoft Really Thinking About Buying Claria?

from the a-bad-move-no-matter-how-you-look-at-it dept

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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    nonuser, Jun 30th, 2005 @ 5:19am

    can you say lawsuits

    When you acquire a company, you inherit all the people who want to sue them for what they did in the past. Shades of Bertlesmann acquiring Napster... although Gates being a lawyer (minus the JD and bar creds), he'd be smart enough to structure it so Microsoft gets the assets of the company without becoming its successor with regards to its previous business.

     

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      identicon
      i like it, Jun 30th, 2005 @ 8:26am

      Re: can you say lawsuits

      Bottom line someone is going to buy claria..yahoo..iaci..or msft....negative connotation aside...claria has sharp management and is well respected in the industry.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2005 @ 9:20am

      Re: can you say lawsuits

      And the fact that he dropped out...

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Nik Cubrilovic, Jun 30th, 2005 @ 9:09am

    I have a pretty good idea why..

    My idea why they are buying them is so they can get their hands on Gain, a Claria product. More here: http://www.perfected.org/archives/2005/07/01/microsoft-to-buy-claria-you-might-think-they-a re-crazy-but/

     

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      Mike (profile), Jun 30th, 2005 @ 9:45am

      Re: I have a pretty good idea why..

      Yeah, I agree it's to get Gain... but the only reason that Gain works the way it does is because of the surreptitious installs and the info they got from it... so it's not sustainable.

       

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        identicon
        Nik Cubrilovic, Jun 30th, 2005 @ 9:49am

        Re: I have a pretty good idea why..

        Mike - who knows, they might just channel in data they can collect from existing MSN apps (messenger, hotmail etc.) into Gain to get results. But it is the smart bits of Gain that have value, they can think of a non-spyware way of feeding Gain some user data.

         

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  •  
    identicon
    Sofa King Stoned, Jun 30th, 2005 @ 10:23am

    Wha?

    Damn, six comments already, and none by dorpus. Techdirt is really going downhill.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2005 @ 2:56pm

      Re: Wha?

      So... if they want to use Gain, they'll have to make all the MS apps work as spyware. So MSN messenger would need to be a spyware app or maybe IE itself will have to report back on people's surfing habbits? Is that what you're suggesting, or am I not understanding this correctly?

       

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  •  
    identicon
    aNonMooseCowherd, Jun 30th, 2005 @ 7:26pm

    most hated companies

    Microsoft is also one of the most hated companies around (among anyone who hasn't been brainwashed to believe the company's propaganda), so why will it hurt them to buy another (much less well known) unpopular company?

     

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