opinion


Google, Yahoo, Microsoft: pots and kettles…

In the wake of Microsoft’s $45bn offer for web giant Yahoo!, Google has got up on its high horse and is calling the potential merger a danger to the very ‘open-ness’ of the interweb.

In a posting on the company blog on Sunday, David Drummond, senior VP of corporate development and chief legal officer, said that Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. “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,” he said.

Drummond continues: “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.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. It’s about comepetition. As Ovum’s David Mitchell points out, “while the combined Microsoft and Yahoo business is still likely to be a much smaller player than Google, they will have substantially improved their ability to compete. ” So is that what’s troubling Google so much?

Maybe so if you believe the other rumours that Yahoo has revived talks it held a few months ago and approached Google to get a counter offer. Would there be so much posturing about openness if the shoe was on the other foot? Then again, that’s assuming that either of these deals could jump through the antitrust hoops.

These recent events couldn’t help but remind me of the wonderful EPIC 2015 movie from the ‘Museum of Media History’. Well worth it if you have ten minutes to spare.

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