Microsoft's Cold Feet

Perhaps Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) board read excerpts from He's Just Not Into You at its meeting last week. Whatever its motivation, the company now plans to simply walk away from its bid for Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) . Yahoo! isn't exactly sobbing at the altar, since it clearly wasn't that into the deal, but some shareholders may have really been looking forward to that buffet.

On Friday, we were left hanging on word that Microsoft could go hostile, which certainly doesn't sound romantic. I wondered whether the company was playing a game of "I love you, I love you not" behind closed doors. Apparently, Microsoft chose "not."

The Internet's abuzz with commentary now, including speculation that this is just another tactic to negotiate for a lower-priced Yahoo!. I also see the logic in my Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz's argument that Microsoft should just walk away; he laid out five reasons, although he also doesn't hate Yahoo!. All signs suggest that Yahoo!'s price will go down the tubes today, since Microsoft had offered a substantial premium for Yahoo!. (I suspect Rick has more thoughts on these developments; be sure to check Fool.com later today.)

As for the potential "wedding of the season," oh well -- I didn't have a thing to wear, and come to think of it, I wasn't invited anyway.

News to go
Last week's raft of economic news gave everybody more to chew on. Are things actually better than the bearish believe, or is this just the eye of the economic storm? Regardless, one thing looks certain: Consumers are in the mood for a superhero. 

Marvel's (NYSE: MVL  ) Iron Man delivered a $100.8 million debut weekend. That stunning opening is second to only one other non-sequel flick, Spider-Man (another Marvel superhero).

Robert Downey Jr.'s casting in Iron Man initially struck me as an odd choice, maybe even a risky one, since he's better known for artsier roles. But hey, he's in good company, with the likes of Johnny Depp and Christian Bale applying their skills at more commercial fare.

More importantly for investors, this is the first film Marvel has made and financed itself. It's handed a lot of money over to Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) over the years by licensing the Spider-Man franchise, for example. This Marvel-ous deal may have sounded risky to some, but it's part of why many Fools think Marvel's the best.

There's one clear superhero for investors: Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) Warren Buffett. (While Charlie Munger is also super-smart, I doubt he'd enjoy being dubbed the Robin to Buffett's Batman.) That's why many of us have probably hung on every word filtering out of Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting this weekend.

Amid all the hoopla, Berkshire's first-quarter profit fell 64%. Meanwhile, Buffett cautioned that Berkshire Hathaway won't generate the returns it has in the past, and said to expect "decent" returns, not "indecent" ones, going forward. I'll bet that's OK with shareholders, knowing they're in good hands. If we all invested like Buffett, we'd be in good shape -- Buffett's wisdom makes Berkshire's annual meeting a huge draw.

Thanks for joining me for breakfast. I'll be here at the same bat-time, same bat-channel tomorrow. Have a great and Foolish day!

Berkshire Hathaway has been recommended byMotley Fool Inside Value andMotley Fool Stock Advisor; The Fool also owns Berkshire Hathaway. Microsoft has been recommended by Motley Fool Inside Value, and Marvel is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy that's iron-man strong.


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