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Microsoft, Facebook and Bing: Do This!

We at RCPU don't make a habit of telling Microsoft what to do. We usually focus on what we think Microsoft is doing wrong or could be doing better. That's what bloggers do. We magnify problems without offering any solutions. We're like politicians in that sense.

Once in a while, though -- and this might actually be the first time -- an idea comes along that's so good, so smart and so seemingly simple that we just have to jump on the bandwagon and say, "Do it, Microsoft! Give Bing to Facebook in exchange for Facebook shares and some search revenue." Oh, it's not our idea, of course. Barron's explains:

"The idea, floated by a CNBC commentator last week, goes like this: Microsoft would turn Bing over to Facebook. Microsoft could receive Facebook shares, currently worth two times Bing revenues, roughly $4 billion, which [Nomura Securities analyst Rick] Sherlund posits as a 4% stake. Microsoft currently owns a 1.6% stake in Facebook, a company that is expected to be valued at as much as $100 billion after its initial public offering later this year. Of course, Facebook might want to wait until after the IPO to see what its shares are actually worth.

"The transaction would still allow Microsoft to achieve the two primary objectives behind its current ownership of Bing: making money off its Internet traffic and preventing Google from monopolizing search advertising."

So, that's an out for Microsoft from the Bing business, which never made a lot of sense in the first place, and a pretty well built-out search engine for Facebook, which the social network really seems to need. And the best part is that Microsoft could own a larger share of a huge-growth company and still make money off of a search engine -- without even having to mess with Bing anymore! Oh, and it's bad for Google!

Maybe we're just simpletons here (spare the comments, please, peanut gallery), but this Bing-Facebook thing seems so pure and so right that it almost has to happen. Of course, that pretty much guarantees that it won't happen, as Microsoft doesn't seem to do all that much that makes sense anymore. Ah, that's better. Taking random pot shots at Microsoft is so much more fun than supporting a constructive solution to a big problem. And we're back to blogging again.

What's your take on a Microsoft-Facebook Bing swap? Leave a comment below or send it to [email protected].

Posted by Lee Pender on April 17, 2012