So Microsoft are trying to buy Yahoo! again, this time publicly for $44bn and change, an attractive offer to shareholders as it's a significant premium on it's current trading stock price.
The strategy of large corporations, seemingly unable to foster true innovation internally, has long been "If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em". The problem Microsoft faced with Google is that they wouldn't sell - they tried to buy them at least as early as 2003 - $15bn would have been the bargain of the decade, making even Steve Jobs' purchase of Pixar from ILM pale in comparison.
So, basically admitting they can't compete with Google in the world of the web, whatever dot release we are on, they turned the war chest at Yahoo!
So what's this all about? What's the thinking here?
PSFK has a leaked memo which looks at the benefits of acquisition: in essence we are being trounced by Google and the usual economies of scale, efficiencies, synergies and related corporate blah.
But it seems pretty simple.
Microsoft have never made much money online. The beast is propped up by a functional monopoly over operating systems and office software, with some change from MSN and Xbox sales.
Yahoo! bet the wrong the way - they decided they should be a media company and hired a big media dog to help them get there. But the web hasn't evolved into a pureplay content platform - it's dynamic, participative, long tail, user generated and so on and so on.
And web 2.0 is shorthand for a more significant shift - from content to services.
So, on the face of it, the merger kind of makes sense [putting aside the fact that mergers almost always lead to the combined companies losing value overall, the complete clash of cultures, and the notorious difficulties inherent in this scale of union]: Microsoft make software, Yahoo! have the audience, between them they bring the web as service platform proposition to life.
Except that's not how it works anymore.
As I said before, consumers don't really pay for services online. The business model has changed. The reason Google makes so much money isn't directly via its services - they're all free to the consumer - it's because it has worked out how to monetise behaviour.
The business model underlying all web 2.0 companies is to use consumer input, interactions, tagging, tracks to build better data sets, better services and, most importantly, better models of behaviour.
They then sell them to advertisers - the more we know about you the more efficiently we can target you.
That's why Facebook is nominally worth so much money. And unless Yahoosoft works out how to play this game, the merger won't make any difference.
There is a grander vision, using the inputs of billions of human interactions to help build a new kind of web, a true anticipation machine.
But, for now, it's about advertising, the hated saviour of the web.