This is a personal rant. If you want to read on, please do so, if not, thanks for getting this far.
Oh I love how people wave flags "for the greater good" when they really mean "for my own good". Today I saw something that just made me have to comment. Unless you have been in a bunker, you should be aware that Microsoft have made a bid for Yahoo. Google, who obviously care greatly about Yahoo decided to have a pop at it:
The openness of the Internet is what made Google -- and Yahoo! -- possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It's what makes the Internet such an exciting place.
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.
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.
This hostile bid was announced on Friday, so there is plenty of time for these questions to be thoroughly addressed. 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.
Now this post just makes me smile. Lets look at a few things (and yes, these are my thoughts, no way representing Microsoft, Yahoo or anyone elses):
- Google loves Openness... so their GPL based products, are available to others...? Oh no sir, web services do not require releasing of code and while they don't pay for the OS (Linux) that they use, they do greatly enhance it to their needs, but the code stays as shut as propriety code.
- OK, how about monopolies - Google complains that Microsoft might seek to dominate the Internet ... unlike Google who just want to make it nice, but they do dominate internet search and have expressed a desire to do so with mail, online applications, advertising, social networking and more
- How about Googles belief in your information being theirs... Well, you don't need to buy a book as Google will scan it and publish it on the internet, without you having to worry about it, or be paid for it. Nice!! Or the fact that if you install their desktop search, Google have a right to all the information on your files. Gmail - yes, they read all your e-mail... to enable them to better serve you, their toolbar... they know everywhere you browse.. and so on
- How about the bid being a "hostile bid" ... well, how many times has MS asked about a merger with Yahoo... lots, has Microsoft ever "forcibly taken over Yahoo", buying up all their shares? Nope. So it is unlikely this will be more hostile than any of the previous conversations. It is true that Yahoo has a great vision and market position .. yes. Could a merger be great for both organisations? Yes
- How about innovation... well, MS's IM, web, portal businesses that Google acknowledges seem somehow to be excluded from the Google view of the world and they think that only things invented or copied by they are worthwhile. After all, while maps.msn.com is not the most favourite place, who put free mapping on the web 1st from these 3 organisation? Not Google I think you will find. What about Satellite photos for maps... Microsoft again.
So, having got a few things off my chest about the blog post from Google, what do I think? I think Google feels threatened by the proposition. They will still be the number one in advertising post a merger, but the properties and options for a Yahsoft/Microhoo type company would give extra weight to their competition. I also think that as was stated in the blog, there is time for people to take stock, consider the options and for an agreement (or not) to happen. Rather than competitors bleating, we should let the employees of the two companies and the regulatory authorities work out what the next step should be. Of course, I should have just as much right as Google to express my opinion!
Now others have had their say too:
Yahoo mulls Google tie-up- source (Reuters)
Microsoft! needs! Yahoo! developers! developers! developers!
Microsoft’s Yahoo play- Some love it; some hate it
Microsoft to buy Yahoo
Robert Scoble thinks Microsoft’s bid to buy Yahoo is the first “interesting”
Permanent Link to Microsoft + Yahoo = Big Mess-
Why The Yahoo-Microsoft Deal Will Be a Disaster
Yahoo bid 'should get approval'
Is Buying Yahoo Microsoft's Big SaaS Plan-
In case you were living under a rock
The only good thing about Microsoft buying Yahoo is the Microsoft Partner benefit
Yahoo not closing door on additional offers
Sun, Feb 3 2008 11:19 PM