Come See the Softer Side of Microsoft

Company tries more cooperative approach to lure Yahoo execs
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2008 8:18 AM CST
This combination of two file photos shows Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, left, and Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang. Yahoo Inc. on Monday, Feb. 11, 2008 spurned Microsoft Corp.'s $44.6 billion takeover bid as inadequate,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Yahoo executives, take note: Microsoft is trying to shed its bully reputation in Silicon Valley in favor of a kinder, gentler, hands-off approach to the smaller start-ups it acquires, the San Jose Mercury News says. Company officials want it known that this isn’t your older brother’s Microsoft—the one that suffocated Netscape, intimidated venture capitalists, and allegedly swiped competitors’ ideas.

“The view here was that they came along, called a party, and broke people’s rice bowls,” said one start-up founder. But a Microsoft exec explained, “Our model now is to approach other companies and ask, ‘How can we help?’” Start-up comparisons to Yahoo aren’t exactly apt, AP notes, because of Yahoo’s size and key role in thwarting Google.