Why I Shouldn’t Write about Microsoft’s Attempted Takeover of Yahoo!
Why shouldn’t I? Because, everybody else is. StraightUpSearch’s very own Drew even talked about a Microsoft and Yahoo alliance a few days ago. Even NPR is talking about it. It’s on network news. My parents probably even know about it, which means it’s dead. Not newsworthy. In Internet time, this story is Jurassic.
But who cares if this isn’t news? It’s definitely not a dead horse, not yet. And I’m excited, because Google could use some competition and because, well, I want to see what Google does once it gets some real competition.
Yes, Google’s hypocritical for complaining, and for complaining the way they’re complaining. For a company that’s spent the last two years buying everything they could get their hands on, and who have been embroiled in their own, more credible, antitrust dilemma (should a search engine be allowed to own a search marketing firm? Um, really? Did I ask that right? Here, let me try again…) they sure haven’t had much of a problem crying like a giant baby. Nearly every sentence of their official blog post could be appended with the semi-dependent clause “but it’s OK if we do it.” Microsoft, whines David Drummond, is attempting to create a leviathan, a rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem* (or the Googleplex). But I like that they’re officially complaining. It means something, this complaining (assuming this isn’t some labyrinthine plot to dominate mobile networks; some attempt to draw attention away from the real story; some chess move no one will understand until three years down the road).
This move, says Google, threatens the innovation that’s made Yahoo such a great competitor. What!?!?! In search? Look at Yahoo’s homepage. While the search bar is in the right place, (i.e., where people’s eyes typically end up when a page loads), you’d be hard pressed to call it prominent. Yahoo.com features news, financial tips, shopping, personals, weather, radio, and, oh yeah, what was I doing here? Right, search. Compare that to Google.com, or even Live.com, which both just feature search boxes (never mind that one works much better than the other), effectively removing the paradox of choice thrown in a searcher’s face by Yahoo’s crazy grab bag. Who’s here to do what?
Google’s complaining, which is kind of funny. Microsoft’s complaining back. Some people at Flickr are staging a protest; some are saying they’ll leave if the acquisition goes through. Oh no! You’re going to take your free account and go…where?
Here’s the thing: someone’s going to have to help Yahoo out. They’re failing. They’re “restructuring,” which is never a good sign. People are losing jobs. Well, who did you want to buy Yahoo? Rupert Murdoch? (He passed on it, by the way.) Some hedge fund with zero expertise in the industry? We all know how that turns out.
Given actual competition, innovation thrives. My vote for the new search engine name = “Yee-Haw!”
Suck it up, Google. I’m sure you have patents to apply for.
And surely some revelation is at hand.**
*Many apologies to the estate and/or ghost of W.B. Yeats.