Monday, February 04, 2008

On Microsoft, Yahoo and Google

Unless you have been living under a rock, the big news since Friday is Microsoft's bid to buy Yahoo fo 45 Billion Dollars. Google of course, is the one playing the "Microsoft" Anti-Trust card saying Microsoft will use it's monopoly power to to take over the internet (Yeah right, good luck).

In my opinion, this is some of the most exciting news to happen to the technology industry in a long time, I haven't heard such an exciting aquisition since the dot-bomb when all the tech stocks went down.

I actually think the merger will be good for everyone even in the search industry since it forces competition. At the end of the day, the consumers will get a better product.

In my opinion, you can't really blame Microsoft for going after Google though. If you read my blog from 2003, my biggest surprise was seeing Google at Microsoft' PDC (they had a booth there) and they were actually recruiting. I even had the opportunity to interview but I missed that boat because I was working on something else :p

So from 2003, Google was hiring at Microsoft's biggest Developer conference, hiring and luring away their best developers. In fact, all of the people that were working at Google at the PDC in 2003 that I was talking to were all ex-Microsoft employees. On top of this, Google built the Google Apps, Word Processor and Spreadsheet and gave it away for free. All of this was just a slap in the face to Microsoft so you can't expect Microsoft to not be pissed off and not do something about it. Google definately struck first at now Microsoft is striking back with this aquistion of Yahoo.

At the PDC in 2005 I did meet members of the MSN Search team and the tone 2 years later at the PDC was so different that PRE-IPO Google of 2003. At that point, they had mentioned that Google would be their biggest competition, I now see why.

Google for the first time feels somewhat "threatened" because if Microsoft combines with Yahoo, they can potentially have a larger user base for Portals accessing the internet. Of course on these portals, there will be a "search" feature and will use the Windows Live search.

I don't think however, driving buying the user base is really going to make a difference though, as long as Google Search Engine stays better than Microsoft's Windows Live, then Google will be just fine.

But then again, we've all seen Microsoft come from behind to become number 1. Just look at Lotus Notes, Internet Explorer, SQL Server and XBOX 360.

Even if Microsoft loses, they never really lose since they have product diversification. If Google loses search, there is no Google (but they are investing in some leading edge technology) and maybe Microsoft will buy them.

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