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Darren Waters

Google responds to MS/Yahoo

  • Darren Waters
  • 3 Feb 08, 20:12 GMT

Google has been said by many to be the root cause of Microsoft's bid for Yahoo.

I would imagine that Google was abuzz with speculation and opinion once news emerged on Friday.

And now the company has responded formally.

On the firm's official blog, David Drummond, senior vice president, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, says the bid "raises troubling questions".

Mr Drummond cuts straight to the chase: "Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC?"

In other words, will use firm use the same anti-competitive pracitices in the online world that it has been found guilty of in the offline world, and caused it to be fined very heavily?

"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?" asks Mr Drummond, and by extension Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive.

This is clearly Google's opening move in a complex game of chess that will encompass ordinary users, politicians, regulators and businessmen.

The posting on the blog ends: "We take Internet openness, choice and innovation seriously. They are the core of our culture. We believe that the interests of Internet users come first -- and should come first -- as the merits of this proposed acquisition are examined and alternatives explored."

So to be clear: Google isn't a fan of this bid.


Comments

Google is just making noise here, I don't think they really feel threatened. Yahoo and Microsoft joining together just isn't going to make them any better.

Both companies have the traffic and the resources to build great search engines and they always mess it up. Why would this be any different in the future?

  • 2.
  • At 11:54 PM on 03 Feb 2008,
  • Byron Ware wrote:

I feel it's not good news for google, but google will make it, people remember
the Ma bell conglomarte had, no benifit's for the average Joe!
Good luck Google!!!

This is not Microsoft doing what they've done in the past to wipe out competition.

If it is then they are taking one hell of a risk this time around.

Advertisers can move their custom more quickly than shareholders can sell shares. Neither would Microsoft want to lose Yahoo's user base in any takeover - even re-branding would be high risk in the short-to-medium term.

Google have much to gain from casting aspersions here. They are hoping that users will flock to Google in dismay. I guess. But i think Google need to watch themselves. People can prove very fickle when it comes pointing the finger at the evil empire.

Actually i am disappointed at Google’s response. Actually i am a big Google fan. But i am also a big technology fan. What i really wanted to hear from Google was “Bring it on guys!”. That would be the spirit.

Microsoft bashing is losing its appeal with the public. Yeah, we all have serious issues about Windows and wonder whether the next automatic update is going to render every PC on the planet completely useless. I remember when IBM were the evil ones, and Bill & Co were the good guys who were going to give us an OS that would work on everyone else’s computers not just IBM. I sense things are moving on again and Microsoft are losing their grip on the internet in much the same way as IBM did on the PC.

  • 4.
  • At 10:44 AM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Stephen Sweeney wrote:

On the other hand, a number of other commentators have pointed out that this is Microsoft's last ditch attempt to prevent their empire from falling apart.

Microsoft was late to the internet and web party, which is why Google is now so big. Microsoft basically missed the boat.

In addition they are having problems in other fields, such as with the Zune and the Xbox 360. The Zune has failed to make any decent headway in the MP3 player market; sales only spiking upon the announcement of a new model. The 360 itself has suffered a 1 in 3 failure rate and is now bracing itself to lose considerable market share to the Playstation 3 (which critics are predicting will see a major come back in terms of hardware and software sales this year).

MS's core customers are also reluctant to upgrade to the latest version of Office; and why bother? Office 2003 does exactly what people want already. Aint broke, don't fix it.

Don't even get me started on the $5 billion disaster that is Windows Vista...

And let's be honest: Do any of us really see people flocking to MSN Yahoo! if the merger completes..?

  • 5.
  • At 11:32 AM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Arumugam Ganesan wrote:

I will be sad to see, if the deal go through, yahoo mail ending up unpopular among its loyal users as like Hotmail some ten years ago.

"We take Internet openness, choice and innovation seriously. They are the core of our culture. We believe that the interests of Internet users come first...unless they happen to live in China, in which case we undermine their attempts at developing political freedoms by placing a whopping great fire wall around the Chinese arm of the Internet to stop them accessing sites that their one-party state regards as unsuitable."

  • 7.
  • At 11:47 AM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • ColinWH wrote:

This could well be the undoing of Microsoft. Things like Yahoo's support of Developers etc, won't sit well with Microsoft's closed culture. I could see a major clash between what the developer wants - and needs - and what a joint Company would want. Neither of these two Companies have managed, even with the massive investment of both, to achieve any critical mass. Who's to say that together, there wouldn't be enough friction to destroy both.

  • 8.
  • At 12:36 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Mark Gemmell wrote:

Given that Yahoo are not turning around the way they needed to, this can hardly be a surprise situation.

Yahoo and Google could come to an agreement but that would be worse for competition than Yahoo and Microsoft joining forces.

In the end Google will probably come out on top against "Microosoft", but such competition can only help keep them honest.

Google are the good guys today but you can be certain they will one day turn from benevolant dictator to tirant. Happens to all successful companies sooner or later. We need to be sure that day that an alternative can thrive.

Are there serious anti-competitive issues in this deal? Surely not.

  • 9.
  • At 01:17 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • phil wrote:

Hmmm, whilst Microsoft will obviously try to monopolise the market and engage in anticompetitive practices is Google any better? Google is actively hostile to user privacy measures and having every last online advertising cent or penny going to Google will make them just as greedy and arrogant as Microsoft are. As Patrick points out earlier, both these companies have the resources to make and develop their own search engines but have failed abysmally with their feeble offerings. I'd prefer to see more players in the internet search market not fewer!

  • 10.
  • At 01:37 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Lasse wrote:

Microsoft is clearly planning to incorporate Yahoo search engine to Windows, bit like explorer. This will give it edge over all competing systems. When the search engine is directly at your desktop, not everybody will go to lengths to use alternative systems. This will give MS far greater share of the market than it's current share and Yahoo combined. Synergy: perhaps, advance in technology: perhaps, unfair advantage: quite likely. Also the Idea of getting advertisements directly at your desktop is quite troubling. One remembers when Netscape had 90% market share in browsers and people were sure that it will never be dislodged from no. 1 position. For those that didn't pay attention, one can point out that Netscape browser was discontinued a while back, when it's market share dropped bellow 1%.

  • 11.
  • At 02:05 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Vijay wrote:

Im disappointed that Microsofts answer for an aweful Windows live was to buy yahoo. While microsoft does well in offline software content they are nowhere to be seen in improving thier online efforts. Im begining to worry they are going to destroy Yahoo if they do able to acquire them. I think Google will profit more from this transaction. I cant see microsoft doing better in online solution anytime sooner than google and destroying Yahoo will serve them good.

  • 12.
  • At 03:22 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Al wrote:

"Microsoft bashing is losing its appeal with the public" is it?

I hate them as much as ever! - locking their SW to only work with their browser (e.g. MS updates), hijacking your home page now (auto redirect to a new home page wen they want it) etc.

MS indeed will be out of the frame as they have proved they dont really know what they are doing in the Internet arena and their name is poison for many - despite any tie-ins.

  • 13.
  • At 04:31 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Alistair wrote:

The smart response from google would be to buy one of the Linux based freeware OS companies (very cheaply) and give linux the big name backing that it desperately needs - The product is already in many respects better than windows, all it needs is support so that manufacturers write drivers for it routinely. Microsoft might find it has more things to worry about than trying to bully into other markets!

  • 14.
  • At 05:03 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • Becky Taylor wrote:

It might not be good news for anyone using Yahoo e-mail. Given that Microsoft brought out its Hotmail service at the same time as Yahoo bought Rocketmail, who wins in the big buyout?

  • 15.
  • At 05:07 PM on 04 Feb 2008,
  • T. Morgan wrote:

We all know about Microsoft from EU rulings and their history. But Google is worse! That Google would have the audacity to complain about competition in a marketplace where they actively discriminate against small businesses and secretly collect information about every person who ever visits their site (or their advertisers) is a classic case of "the pot calling the kettle black." What I want to know is: Who's watching Google?

  • 16.
  • At 09:36 PM on 05 Feb 2008,
  • Prashantha Shet wrote:

I don't think Google's objections have any point in this deal. If MS wants to buy another company, and if that company happens to be Yahoo, which happens to be Google's competitor, why should Google worry about it.
Google should come out of its hiding behind "Internet openness philosophy" and face it. Why can't it bid for Yahoo too? Yahoo is clearly in trouble, as they announced 1000 job cuts. Instead of it just disappearing from the competition arena with Google, what's wrong if it's backed by MS? As far Google is concerned, it's competitor is still alive and the consumers still have a choice.

Either Microsoft has lost its corporate mind, or they are very clever and this is just a red herring.

Buying Yahoo would be a very big headache for Microsoft:

- Cultural differences - most of the staff don't like Microsoft and most of the time have spoken against them

- As far as I know, none of Yahoo runs Microsoft software for it's applications or server management.

- Backlash of large amount of Yahoo users WILL move (to Google?).

Why a red herring? To force someone else to bid and pay over the odds for a troubled darling of the Internet. Thus weakening the competition (both the acquirer and Yahoo themselves due to the necessary focus on the takeover operations), and at the same time removing large amounts of available funds from development of more 'anti-Microsoft' solutions.

Great tactics worthy of any scholar of SUN TSU - The Art of War.

Either Microsoft has lost its corporate mind, or they are very clever and this is just a red herring.

Buying Yahoo would be a very big headache for Microsoft:

- Cultural differences - most of the staff don't like Microsoft and most of the time have spoken against them

- As far as I know, none of Yahoo runs Microsoft software for it's applications or server management.

- Backlash of large amount of Yahoo users WILL move (to Google?).

Why a red herring? To force someone else to bid and pay over the odds for a troubled darling of the Internet. Thus weakening the competition (both the acquirer and Yahoo themselves due to the necessary focus on the takeover operations), and at the same time removing large amounts of available funds from development of more 'anti-Microsoft' solutions.

Great tactics worthy of any scholar of SUN TSU - The Art of War.

This has still got everyone guessing. Vincent could right, and it could be a Red Herring, however its now Friday and it is still looking like a serious offer.

How could such a seemingly impossible marriage work?

The greatest value that Yahoo has is their non-Microsoft culture. With echoes of past culture changes at IBM, maybe it is time for Microsoft to embrace being non-Microsoft at last.

Let Yahoo manage MSN and advertising. Converge applications like desktop mail and IM, while maintaining respective brands. Microsoft must use the opportunity to fully embrace non-Microsoft platforms such as RiM, Symbian, Nokia's mobile Linux, and the i-Phone. The Yahoo culture can do this for them, so finally they can demonstrate to world that Microsoft’s obsession with its own technology is over.

However with the markets crashing around them Microsoft must act fast and decisively. It cannot afford to be vague in its plans for Yahoo, and it must let the markets know exactly what it intends to do with Yahoo once it has acquired it. A loss of confidence with the markets now will spell the demise of both parties.

  • 20.
  • At 05:08 AM on 08 Feb 2008,
  • Adrian Hum wrote:

Short answer, we need to really review who we this is and isn't evil. Google's growth and control over advertising what we search for and what we see can be seen to be as evil as an control that Microsoft exerts over our operating systems and our desktops.

Google office is "free", and the services in Google search are "free" but what are the hidden revenue models involved here, what value do they put on the data that they derive from our searches, email and browsing habits?

Just a thought...

  • 21.
  • At 04:05 PM on 09 Feb 2008,
  • Hassan wrote:

Google will keep the crown even if the MS buys Yahoo.

  • 22.
  • At 04:17 PM on 29 Feb 2008,
  • Vladimir S wrote:

I wonder what Mr.Drummond means when he says: "Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC?"

What is the problem the SEC and the European Competition Commisioner have with Microsoft. Since when did it become illegal to produce something people want to buy and then be told that it is "anti-competitive" and then get fined for it? Ludicrous! Here is something that people forget: nodody is forced to buy Microsoft products and it is immoral to force a company at gunpoint to set its prices at a level determined by government bureaucrats, to force it to reveal industrial secrets (which are owned by it) and, generally, to tell it how to conduct its affairs. Provided a company doesn't force people to buy its products, it should be left alone. Laissez-faire is a concept which has already been forgotten by the EU and is gradually being eroded away in the USA. Save us from regulators and environmentalists!!

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