Last May Microsoft bought aQuantive for $6 billion in cash. Now, they’re kicking off 2008 with the purchase (the most ever offered for a Internet company) of Yahoo for $44.6 billion. That’s $31 a share which is a 62% premium over Yahoo’s closing shares Jan. 31. To Businessweek’s point this would merge the World’s largest software maker with the most used Internet portal. Shockingly – at least to me – Microsoft has been trying to court Yahoo for the past 18 months. Microsoft expects the merger to cut costs by $1 billion a year going forward. In the wake of the merger, if it goes through – Google and a few others might cry monopoly – Yahoo’s workforce will be minimized. Yahoo currently has over 14,000 workers. Microsoft’s bid is further motivated by the rise of web software competitors, such as Salesforce.com. Purchasing Yahoo would increase their reach and enable a massive distribution platform of web based software.