The real tragedy of the Microsoft/Yahoo deal collapse...

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...isn't that Yahoo's share price plummeted 15%, or that Microsoft now has no online advertising strategy. It's the loss of bankers' fees.

Depending on where you look, the fees earned from the coupling of the two technology giants were going to be as high as $1.3bn, or as low as $120m, shared between Lehman, Goldman, Blackstone and Morgan Stanley.

Either way, a Microsoft/Yahoo union wouldn't have gone amiss - according to Thomson Financial, 'high tech' M&A deals globally are down 88% so far this year compared to 2007.

Not down the loo without Yahoo

Tech bankers aren't dead without the deal, though. Nor are they likely to get totally diminutive bonuses.

Gary Goldstein, chief executive of financial services search firm The Whitney Group, says tech banking is one area where there's still hiring in the US: "We have some tech boutiques that are hiring very actively - Pacific Crest, RW Baird and Canaccord Adams are all looking to build out their technology platforms."

Although tech deals have fallen nearly 60% by value in Europe this year, figures from Thomson suggest fees are holding up this side of the Atlantic at least, with $456m booked this year vs. $432m in 2007.

Paddy MccGwire, founding partner of TMT M&A boutique Cobalt Corporate Finance, says tech M&A is solid in the European mid-market and a good long-term career bet: "The tech industry is full of small to mid market companies and large companies with healthy balance sheets, which means plenty of M&A in years to come."

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