Adam Lashinsky at Fortune is reporting that Yahoo is (once again) considering acquiring AOL. The last time this happened was when AOL was looking for a new search partner. It ended up sticking with Google, which bought a 5 percent stake in AOL. If Yahoo bought AOL, wouldn't it still be contractually obligated to power AOL's search with Google?
When I asked a few weeks ago whether Yahoo is becoming the new AOL, I didn't mean literally. Yahoo is certainly interested in getting its stock price up again, and so it shouldn't be a surprise that it is exploring all of its options. (That's what the biz dev guys at these companies do—they talk to each other all the time about possible deals). But I'm not sure buying AOL would have a significant impact on its shares. If it's depressing shares of Time Warner (my employer), why would it do anything differently for Yahoo?
Lashinsky also throws out the possibility of a Yahoo-Microsoft linkup. That would be more powerful, and could give the combined Yahoo and MSN more bulk in their fight against Google, but you've got to wonder about culture clashes and antitrust issues.
Whatever problems Yahoo has, it's better off solving them on its own. Doing a big acquisition won't be the quick fix some on Wall Street might be hoping it will be.