Is Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) 2009 going to be a rerun of Yahoo! 2008?

With the online giant set to report earnings on Tuesday, it's a fair question to ask. The media is abuzz over CEO Carol Bartz talking to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) on an advertising deal, possible layoffs, and more executive defections.

It's starting to sound a lot like Jerry Yang's version of Yahoo!, only neither company has the right to be as headstrong and bullheaded as it was last year.

With Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) blowing past Wall Street expectations on Thursday, the bar is once again raised on paid search. Big G continues to pull away from the competition. Yahoo! on Microsoft's shoulders isn't as tall as it would have been a year ago, relative to Google's growth spurts.

Bartz wasn't brought in to shake hands with Microsoft's Steve Ballmer or to wave a white flag of surrender. That's why I can't see Yahoo! handing over its paid search business to the less relevant Microsoft. What would become of Yahoo! in that scenario? It would be like going to see the E Street Band sans Bruce Springsteen or Destiny's Child without Beyonce.

However, expectations may be too high for what Bartz can -- and will -- do. She may be the boss at Yahoo!, but she's still no Springsteen. Let's just hope she has not only a hungry heart, but a smart one, too.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Was buying Skype a mistake for eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY)? We'll find out early next year, when eBay takes the voice and video chat platform public. Sure, eBay already took a $1.4 billion charge two years ago to write down its Skype investment, but now the market will have a chance to decide if eBay gets out with a capital loss or gain on the balance of its investment.
  • You know that skies have to be clearing in a week in which Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI) receives a credit rating upgrade from Standard & Poor's and creditors gave the troubled MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGM) CityCenter project in Vegas a small break. Baby steps, Mr. Market. Baby steps.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. eBay is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. eBay and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.