Well Google is pissed – All-out attack on Microsoft Yahoo! Acquisition

Via Pat Phelan is a link to Google’s comment on the Microsoft Acquisition of Yahoo! by David Drummond, one of their main legal guys. It isn’t nice or subtle. Hostile acquisition is mentioned twice. Open standards blah blah blah.

Google is pulling no punches saying this is a very bad thing for openness. Google of course has APIs for everything. Oh, except for their search engine. They do have a fakey plasticy API that throws AJAX gunk search results on your site but not a real API. Google is open when it suits, of course. Google wants open standards in areas they want to disrupt and take over. Fair enough. Will they open their search API now to save the Internet?

The digs come hard and fast:

Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC?

Google hasn’t been done on anti-trust, just yet but after this Microsoft I’m sure is going to be spending a lot of money lobbying for it.

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?

Google is worried about their ad revenue more than anything else. The digs are fun though. Why have they not complained about Microsoft and extending unfair practices to the net? Google will still own a bigger chunk of search even if this acquisition goes through. What’s the issue? They still own the ad business, the not very open ad business, what’s the issue there?

It makes me wonder whether Google was waiting to kill Yahoo! a little bit more before they assumed they could swallow them up? The last comment in the statement kind of says they can always jump into the arms of Google or let Google help them.

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.

Get the popcorn folks!

Update: Microsoft reply with cold hard figures about Google’s control of search and advertising. They also mention privacy.

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13 Responses to “Well Google is pissed – All-out attack on Microsoft Yahoo! Acquisition”

  1. Two words: Social Search. Microsoft and Yahoo combined have a lot of raw data that can be used for this kind of search.

  2. Matt says:

    Google are bound to disagree with MS acquiring Y!, but the points they make about “hostile takeover” and about anti-trust are valid points, imvho.

  3. Treasa says:

    1) Until Yahoo give a reaction, I don’t think it’s a good idea to describe the take over offer as hostile. According to a few reports, Microsoft and Yahoo! had been in some discussions about some kind of rapprochement anyway, and there are certain benefits to Yahoo! for it.

    2) It’s interesting in the light of the FaceBook acquisition last year.

    Yahoo has a couple of nice toys. It’s got Flickr and I spent a lot of Saturday looking for a viable alternative to Flickr and found none, and it’s got better search than Microsoft’s search. I’d venture to say that although Google still has the bigger market share, Yahoo’s search returns are better. They’ve also got that Yahoo Answers thing which is increasingly turning up useful information. I don’t like their dashboard which is a bit too cluttered for my liking but between them, Microsoft Live and Yahoo are starting to push out webstuff that if I don’t actively like it, I’m starting to find it interesting at least.

    Given that Google has a massive amount of search market share, and given that it currently has inline ads sewn up, I’m inclined to think the problem here is not that they are so much against it, but that they didn’t see it coming and are not sure how to react to it.

    Regarding anti-trust…well it’s hard to for Google to claim antitrust when combined they’ll still be smaller than the marketleader.

  4. Niall O'K says:

    Actually, Treasa, Yahoo! have reacted:

    According to C|Net News.com:

    Yahoo said in a responding statement that its board “will evaluate this proposal carefully and promptly, in the context of Yahoo’s strategic plans, and pursue the best course of action to maximize long-term value for shareholders.”

    Doesn’t sound like they’re not interested to me…

  5. Treasa says:

    That’s not really a reaction, per se, that’s time buying. I have to say though that if they were emphatically not interested, the reaction would have come before now…

  6. [...] eye with such an obviously hypocritical position won’t work. If anything, it is likely to bring Google unwelcome attention as the numbers come under [...]

  7. Niall O'K says:

    Oh it’s a reaction alright – there’s a lot in what they’re not saying.

    The fact that they’ve said something but that this something isn’t simply “We’re not interested” says a lot.

  8. Cian says:

    I’d have to disagree there Niall, it’s a non-comment. All it’s saying is Yahoo are going to evaluate the proposals on the table.

    Anyway, Microsoft have responded to Google’s blog posting…

    “Statement from Brad Smith, General Counsel, Microsoft

    REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 3, 2008 – The combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! will create a more competitive marketplace by establishing a compelling number two competitor for Internet search and online advertising. The alternative scenarios only lead to less competition on the Internet.

    Today, Google is the dominant search engine and advertising company on the Web. Google has amassed about 75 percent of paid search revenues worldwide and its share continues to grow. According to published reports, Google currently has more than 65 percent search query share in the U.S. and more than 85 percent in Europe. Microsoft and Yahoo! on the other hand have roughly 30 percent combined in the U.S. and approximately 10 percent combined in Europe.

    Microsoft is committed to openness, innovation, and the protection of privacy on the Internet. We believe that the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! will advance these goals.”

  9. two failing companies = one failing company, with other successful companies in their pockets (flickr, facebook). Just means more money for microsoft, and larger market share. But what are they (or yahoo) doing themselves, other than using what other companies have done first?

  10. Trinity says:

    my own personal opinion is that Yahoo will got for it, eventually. They will ‘arse’ around with it for a while, maybe drag the bejazus out of it, so to speak :)

  11. Smoke says:

    As long as MSFT is the dominant OS and desktop player this will never get past the EU regulators.

  12. [...] of Damien’s posts about Google’s response to the Microsoft bid for Yahoo! was the first post to grab my [...]

  13. Niall O'K says:

    My own personal opinion is that the Internet will be a more interesting place WHEN Yahoo go for it.

    And I still think that the fact that Yahoo didn’t just come straight out and say “Not interested” counts for … well… for something.

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