feb 3


I hope everyone else sees the hypocrisy of Google's press release on the Microsoft-Yahoo merger. Invoking the spectre of monopolies hardly seems like a good move here. The "wise Google-ish thing to do" here would have been just to stay quiet. (Update: Microsoft's response came in quickly.) [More inside.]


I'm not going to write some long diatribe, but I'll hit these bullet points:

1) The merger won't help Yahoo or Microsoft.

2) The merger won't help or hurt Google.

3) People who think Microsoft is "evil" are trapped in some whack mythology from the '90s. Microsoft is harmless, and it will be continue to be harmless even if the merger happens. Hating Microsoft is about as relevant and meaningful as hating Britney Spears.

4) Google's power right now is significantly more frightening -- and it's nothing resembling the battle that Microsoft posed. Rather than a battle over software and systems, Google poses a potential monopoly over networks, information, and media. But in 10 years Google will hopefully seem as nefarious as Jamie Lynn Spears.

5) This merger talk was mostly boring UNTIL the names NBC-Univeral and News Corp started being dropped. Aliances here are what could really this into something interesting.... but probably not.

(Disclaimer: stocks in GOOG and MSFT.)

posted by Rex at 3:03 PM on February 3, 2008

If I were a shareholder**, I'd be worried about Google and their ability to create value in the future. They seem particularly tone deaf lately...that press release almost seems like an April Fools joke. Are they aware that this isn't 2002 anymore.

** Disclaimer: I own 0 shares of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.

posted by jkottke at 4:19 PM on February 3, 2008

I bought the minimum number of Google shares (5 -- at $85/share) on opening day. I'm pretty shocked I haven't sold them yet.

posted by Rex at 4:44 PM on February 3, 2008

AND ANOTHER THING: Google nowadays is made up of scads of execs that it snagged from Microsoft over the past few years. So which culture is corrupt?

posted by Rex at 6:05 PM on February 3, 2008

First - re #4: thank you! Somebody needs to say this and I'm glad you have.

But I think the problem you'll run into is how this will all be framed in the coming Techmeme clusterfuck. Microsoft's 'evil' dominance of OS/software is not wanted because of unfair business practices i.e. they are breaking the sacrosanct rules of 'the market'. But if everyone uses Google for search - and YouTube for video etc. etc. - then the uniformity of who provides access to information and media is simply a product of how "the market has spoken" whereby "people have chosen what's best for themselves". The consolidation of the flow of information is, to be totally cynical, not as important as 'what's good for business' as dictated by the principles of the invisible hand etc. The fact that Microsoft responded using the same discourse by talking about monopolies/revenue streams rather than knowledge will only compound the problem.

posted by Nav at 6:25 PM on February 3, 2008

I agree that old media companies merging with Y make this interesting.

The idea that NBC/U picks up Yahoo is a compelling one but given their current leadership, I can't ever imagine that happening.

This whole thing raises an interesting question however - What "Media" companies are left in ten years and where do they rank?

My totally ridiculous guess:

2) VIACOM/FOX - Thrown together in a megameger sometime in the next few years (or once Sumner dies) and it will be surprisingly big.
3)APPLE/DISNEY - Another merger bound to happen.
4)MSFT - Totally having swallowed Yahoo and most likely whatever's left of IAC.
4)NBC/U (GE) - Sucking wind.
5)SONY - Dead in the water.

posted by Gavin at 1:08 AM on February 4, 2008

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