Pundits are focused on the impact on search and ads, but I’ll be quick to point out that the breaking news that Microsoft has bid $44+ billion for Yahoo! has big implications for health.

Yahoo! has made a successful mark in health on many fronts. One of many distinctions, for example, is Yahoo! Health & Wellness Groups where countless people convene to meet, share, and debate health issues, from medications and their side effects to what to do when you’re newly diagnosed. It’s all about the stories and the sharing and the wisdom of health crowds over there. If you’re looking to join a group to learn about and discuss depression, Yahoo! Health offered 4,121 of them as of 2:41 pm today.

Microsoft is a key player in health, too, in provider organizations, in health plans, in doctors’ offices, and increasingly, for consumers. Health care is one of the company’s fastest-growing verticals. Late last year, Microsoft announced the development of HealthVault, a personal health records venture, which I blogged about here. Microsoft also acquired Azyxxi, a health informatics firm, which gave the company further ability to help manage health records. I’ll be meeting with them at HIMSS in a few weeks, and will report back to Health Populi readers what I learn.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: It is exciting to imagine how these two organizations could come together to serve the health vertical market. This would greatly bolster the two companies’ health profiles vis-a-vis Google Health. For now, just hours after the announcement of the bid, I’ll give my thumb-up for the deal and hope both shareholders and regulators will, as well.