Is Yahoo dead?

Thanks to the DOJ, Google has backed out of its partnership with Yahoo -- leaving the No. 2 search company dangling helplessly over the jaws of Microsoft. Can it survive?

Yahoo can't just sit there and do nothing, unless it wants its stock to be worth slightly less than, well, US currency. So it seems to have three options:

Option No. 1: Yahoo buys AOL. What that does for either party in the long run is a little unclear. It's more like a frog that's about to be eaten by a snake and puffs itself up so it can't be easily swallowed. But all you end up with is a bruised, puffy frog.

Option No. 2: Microsoft just buys the parts of Yahoo it likes (search and advertising) leaving ... what? Yahoo 360? Yahoo has a massive online audience -- 142 million uniques a month in the US alone, per Comscore -- but without ads they're stuck relying on someone else (i.e., Microsoft or Google) to help them monetize it. That's not pretty.

Option No. 3: Fairy godmother steps in, makes everything right. And the man in the Tinker Bell costume is ... Rupert Murdoch?

In a word, Eww.

One thing is for certain: This story is not over. And thus, I'm not done writing about it. Somebody just shoot me, please.

I never met a metaphor I didn't like.

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Robert X. Cringely

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