Apr 23, 2017

Is Google afraid of Microsoft?

Published Feb 10, 2008, 2:02pm

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Is Google feeling fear?


On Google’s reaction to Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo!

If anyone wondered whether Google is concerned about Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo!, wonder no more. They are. We argue that Google is using scare tactics against Microsoft.

In yesterday’s blogpost over at Google’s Official Blog Senior Vice President David Drummond expresses deep concern about the possible merger.

Drummond paints the familiar picture of Microsoft as a force opposing innovation and openness. In short: Google is afraid that Microsoft is aiming at establishing new proprietary monopolies on the Web, forcing the majority of us to use their standards.

This applies, according to Drummond, to instant messaging and Web email, but also — apparently — to monopolies based on Microsoft’s dominance in the PC operating system market and the combination of Yahoo! and MSN/Microsoft’s strong positions as web destinations and portals.

In essence he indicates that Microsoft could use this position to block Web surfers from using, for instance, Google’s Gmail.

“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.”



Seriously, Google, you do not really think that Microsoft will get away with a Windows/Explorer combination that stops Gmail users from reading their mail?

That would really be asking for trouble, and given Microsoft recent legal struggles in the US and vis-a-vis the European Commission, they would never get away with.

Admittedly, there was a time when Microsoft could have succeeded with such a plan, but they botched it, partly by delaying the Windows update too long and by forgetting to improve the Internet Explorer for years. Combining Live and Yahoo! mail will not change this, nor will their strong position at the instant messaging market.

It seems to us that Google uses this opportunity to make life as hard for Microsoft as possible. There will probably be senators and EU representatives out there that buy these arguments and start long and complicated legal processes to stop Microsoft from “getting a Web monopoly”.

The fact is that Microsoft is doing this because the company has failed completely in dominating the Web.

It is Google who has the best chance of becoming the virtual monopolist in this area: It is the leader in Web search and online advertising, it has an increasingly popular web mail client and is also challenging Microsoft in one of its core areas: office software.

If we are worrying about anything as regards this merger, it is that Microsoft may destroy what has made Yahoo! a valuable contributor to Web search and online content provision, i.e. that Yahoo’s culture will drown in the huge bureaucratic machinery called Microsoft.

But this could also turn out for the good: Yahoo! may revive Microsoft as a Web company, as a search company and as an online advertising company, giving Google real competition in these areas. That is good for both openness and innovation.

Google tells us that Drummon’s post will be their only statement on this topic for the time being. We guess that we will hear more from them soon.

Anyway, here is the Google statement:

Yahoo! and the future of the Internet
By David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, Google

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.

http://www.pandia.com/sew/

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