Lines in the sand

I can’t remember the comedian who was discussing a war-torn area in the world and talking about the dictator who scratched a line in the sand and said “cross this line, and you’re dead.” When the opposition advanced forward over the line, the dictator repeated their behavior after taking a few steps backward. Three… four… five times. Ludicrous deadlines are meaningless. Repeating them over and over again in a failed attempt to create validity simply makes you sound foolish.

Which is exactly what Microsoft is doing to themselves. Since their line in the sand a week or two ago, Yahoo!’s stock has gone up, Microsoft’s has gone down. Microsoft is now saying that “Unless we make progress with Yahoo! towards an agreement by this weekend, we will reconsider our alternatives.  These alternatives clearly include taking an offer to Yahoo shareholders or to withdraw our proposal and focus on other opportunities.” (Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell).

So they’re not only continuing to threaten to go to Yahoo!’s board,  they’re now trying to give themselves a backdoor to get off stage and save face by withdrawing the proposal.

Ya know… I happen to know that Microsoft has several good contract negotiators both in their procurement and sales teams.   Apparently the C-level execs aren’t talking with them before they go and make these silly statements to the public.

Folks, if you’re going to use Power and Time, (or any other negotiation skill), use it properly and with an understanding of the consequences.  Don’t be Microsoft.  Please.

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