Okay, this is just so lame that I’m going to speak out on the issue of Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo. Google’s basically crying foul because Microsoft still has loads of cash lying around and they’re slowly coming to the realization that it will not be long before they no longer have a monopoly on the lucrative OS/Office Suite market. Might as well as buy up some prominent Internet properties while the going’s good.
I’m not saying that this buyout would be a good thing. I agree with Google that I’d rather not see Yahoo! suck even worse by getting absorbed into the Microsoft blob, especially not with the way the collectively screwed us all with the abomination that is Internet Explorer.
However, I beg to differ that Google’s looking out for our interests. I see a lot of innovation in the search engine area but I haven’t witnessed any openness on Google’s part. They do a lot more for the community than a lot of other companies but there’s a good reason why Google’s campus looks like a playground with free food. They’re swimming in money that wouldn’t be there if everything was open source. Google makes money the same way Microsoft does, by monetizing the software they developed in house. One is deployed to an army of servers and another gets mass distribution through retail.
Microsoft’s been making some strategic plays like getting a stake in Facebook and I’m sure that Google understands full well that as far as cash cows go they’re still a one trick pony compared to other competitors that have diversified since the first crash.
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.