Well the fine folks over at Google have come up with a response to Friday’s bid by Microsoft for Yahoo! Now, believe me – I understand that business is business and that Google has to respond with a negative spin against their competitors but the blog post and press release they put out made me smirk more than think. The official line, put forth by David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer for Google, was:
“So Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.”
Ummmmm, OK – you’ve got to be kidding me. Now I mean no offense to Google – love them to bits and use them daily but seriously, the two properties search market share combined still only account for slightly over half of Google’s so exactly what is the threat to competition? Google will still have the overwhelming majority of search so really – they can decide how much innovation goes into it. And please – openness !!! When I get my weekly email updating me on the algorithm or when the numbers get put out on searches/day even – THEN that argument might stand. He then writes:
“Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies — and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.
Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft — despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses — to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet? In addition, Microsoft plus Yahoo! equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts. And between them, the two companies operate the two most heavily trafficked portals on the Internet. Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors’ email, IM, and web-based services? Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions — and consumers deserve satisfying answers.”
Now, they raise decent points regarding the past practices of Microsoft but again – what competition? If anything the deal will raise the bar on competition in the industry – but Google knows that. Whenever Google’s doing something or buying someone everyone makes a big to-do about it. Well now the shoe is on the other foot and Google gets their chance to point the finger.
In the end the likelihood of Google getting their way and the deal being blocked is low. Heck, the fact that Google’s against it probably has some FTC people thinking it’s a pretty good thing and heck – it might be good for Google as well. Let’s consider this – who is the master of search? (hint – it’s Google).
People will choose MSN/Live because it’s easy (part of their browser, etc.) people will chose Yahoo! because it’s part of other services they use or because it’s not Google. Well the former will see their services changed dramatically when Microsoft takes over and the later won’t like being part of Microsoft any more than Google and so they’ll either give up and go to Google or, the company that I view as the true likely winner in this – Ask (come on – give them a chance
Of course only time will tell but I’m looking forward to the journey. This is going to be a very VERY interesting story to follow.