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Google Kills Yahoo Ad Deal

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the sleep-with-the-fishes dept.

Google 79

mytrip writes "Google has pulled the plug on on a search-ad partnership with Yahoo that would have given Yahoo major new revenue but that raised antitrust concerns. 'After four months of review, including discussions of various possible changes to the agreement, it's clear that government regulators and some advertisers continue to have concerns about the agreement,' said David Drummond, Google's chief legal officer in a blog post Wednesday."

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This one confused me. (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657147)

I'm not a huge Google booster, you won't see much more than spamtrap stuff in any of my Gmail accounts; but I don't really understand why this deal is seen as so serious. Yahoo has a fairly strong set of web properties, but mediocre advertising and search. Running Google ads sure isn't a long term vote of confidence in their own ad department; but Yahoo's ad space is quite valuable, and presumably they believe that they can do better as a site operator selling ad space. I'm not sure whether they are right or not; but it is at least plausible.

Am I missing something about this, or did the deal get shot down by some sort of outside pressure? (Is MS still involved in some corporate version of "It's complicated" here?)

DOJ & antitrust (5, Informative)

mattytee (1395955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657197)

Outside pressure is unlikely -- though TFA mentions the association of national advertisers wrote the DOJ a letter, here's how it works:

There's an index called Herfindahl-Hirschmann, where the percentage of the market share for all companies in the market (here, they probably ran it for advertising and search) is squared. If the sum of the squares is above 1700, the DOJ *automatically* threatens/files an antitrust suit.

Hopefully that's semi-clear. It's part of basic microeconomics if you need a better explanation.

Re:DOJ & antitrust (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25657241)

There's an index called Herfindahl-Hirschmann... the DOJ *automatically* threatens/files an antitrust suit.

      But in the case of Microsoft, they get a permanent pass, even when they're found guilty and then win an appeal.

Re:DOJ & antitrust (2, Insightful)

mattytee (1395955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657351)

All I can say to that is, the DOJ isn't all-powerful. You probably wouldn't want them to be.

In the US, money talks. Giving *some* jobs to Americans doesn't hurt MS either. Of course, we geeks can also see all the contracting, offshoring, and H1B nonsense they're pulling...

Re:DOJ & antitrust (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25657743)

How do you think the girl that scratched the letter B into her own face feels right now? Just like you do reading this. LOL!

Re:DOJ & antitrust (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657243)

Clear enough. Herfindahl-Hirschmann should be enough for me to pull up the relevant literature. Thanks.

Re:DOJ & antitrust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25661725)

... which is partial bullshit. The XM/Sirius merged would theoretically give them 100% market share, but that statement ignores the fact that they compete against terrestrial radio, internet radio, personal music collections, and so on. Screw the DOJ's antitrust BS.

Re:This one confused me. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25657301)

let me guess, you think 1204 bit encryption is secure? i can crack 2^43,112,609-1 encryption, in my sleep(not joking), then again i have a super conductor time machine in my left shoulder, and my entire brain is now the largest quantum computer ever built by any race, as an attempt to save the galaxy from the zerg.

think i'm high? nah, my one and only true love is the other quantum computer designed by the replicators, as an attempt to save the galaxy from the zerg

oh yeah, all 7 planets in the solar system have life, there are 3 partial Dyson spheres, and every moon and planet (all 27 of them 28 if you count krypton aka the asteroid belt) contain replicators, or some from of life on them.

why do i know this and not you? well, you didn't have a half trillion nano machines taking your ever word as the gospel. 100% certain that you're jesus christ reborn, to save the galaxy from itself.

or maybe you prefer names like 'luke skywalker' or perhaps 'peter' from heroes.

Re:This one confused me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25662689)

This makes perfect sense to me. Despite the deformed yahoogle babies that not pulling out would give our world, Yahoo recently released a radio commercial on how their service is so much better than, specifically, Google. Yahoo notes they have a McAfee engine marking their search results for the safety of their links. Of course, if they had a better algorithm, this wouldn't matter. I wouldn't want to partner with another company who publicly and directly bashes my services.

Re:This one confused me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25672223)

Google only pretended to want to make a deal with Yahoo to encourage them to thumb their noses at Microsoft. But now that the suitor is gone, Yahoo's supposed sweetheart is heading off to greener pastures.

Re:This one confused me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25677341)

Yahoo has a fairly strong set of web properties, but mediocre...search.

This is a ridiculous claim. Yahoo's search technology and databases are second to none these days. Their current engine is an evolution of the AltaVista, FAST, and Inktomi engines that they have acquired over the years, but don't let that fact alone color your assessment. Perform a comparison of random test searches (without cherry-picking - be fair), and you'll find that Yahoo's speed and relevance consistently rival or surpass PageRank's.

I say this as someone who targets Google for clients but regularly uses search.yahoo.com for personal business after conducting the same tests. Perhaps once upon a time a few years ago it wasn't a good idea to depend on Yahoo's result set over Google's, but that has not been true for a long time.

What This Means (5, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657225)

There are two very interesting things about Google pulling out:

1) Google is now big enough to attract serious government anti-trust attention. It just immensely harder for them to do anything big that would benefit their core business (advertising) or anything external where they could throw their weight around. The message from the government seems to be that they're going to start treating Google as a de-facto monopoly in search/advertising, which means they're going to try to keep Google from using that monopoly in other markets.* I don't think they're the kind of market threat that the government makes them out to be, but left unchecked they may get there one day soon.

2) Yahoo is fucked. Yang should have sold it to Microsoft when he had the chance; they're probably not going to be able to stand on their own now, and whoever ends up being their suitor won't pay nearly as much as MS's best offer.

* Not that the DoJ is particularly effective here. See: Microsoft

More economics terms (5, Informative)

mattytee (1395955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657323)

I really dig microeconomics, if you can't tell.

Technically speaking, Google's an oligopolist rather than a monopolist. Oligopoly is a market in which a few large firms control a market with a high concentration ratio (the Herfindahl-Hirschmann Index I mentioned above) and high barriers to entry (in this case, the R&D and advertising that would be required to compete).

Consider the barriers in terms of the fact that Microsoft, with all its money and brand recognition, can't compete with Google in search or advertising. That's partly an issue of quality (real or perceived), as we geeks know, but it does make clear that it's not a "hit and run" (contestable) market where many small firms can jump in and compete.

Re:More economics terms (1, Troll)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657481)

Google's privileged position and the wealth it has provided them, I would argue, makes them have a special duty to society to CONTINUE to provide us with free, effective search engines. If Google were to suddenly require payment for their search service or were to even, for some inexplicable reason, decide to close up shop tomorrow, the federal government should step in and ensure they remain doing their duty until at least some real competition arises, or the government could just nationalize it if needed.

Companies like Google need to be watched like hawks and yes, even they need to be HEAVILY regulated to ensure they play nice with society. We do let them become as rich as they are already, after all.

Re:More economics terms (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25657577)

Where's my (-1, GetTheFuckOutOfHereYouSocialistFuckwit,ObamaIsThatWay) moderation?

Re:More economics terms (4, Interesting)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657637)

so wait a second.. you think that when a company becomes very well off, they are obliged to give free services to whoever asks it of them?

I'm not sure what your smoking, but it must be good, google, like all capitalist companies, follow the almighty dollar.

or were to even, for some inexplicable reason, decide to close up shop tomorrow, the federal government should step in and ensure they remain doing their duty

so if company x decides to close down, the government should have the power to _force_ the company to still provide service? ... right, I like your choice of words 'doing their duty' makes it sound almost like they are an army deserter by not doing business.

Re:More economics terms (2, Interesting)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 5 years ago | (#25658887)

I think the other poster is making a snarky point about the rescue of the banking system, and the support and pressure given by governments to banks across the world to make sure they continue lending.

Re:More economics terms (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25667569)

Credit is a fundamental requirement of an economy. Google is not.

Re:More economics terms (0, Flamebait)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661289)

No, I'm just practicing my rhetoric to fit in with the upcoming Obama presidency, so I'm not left behind the times.

Re:More economics terms (2, Interesting)

mattytee (1395955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25658031)

the government could just nationalize it if needed.

Recent events actually make this seem likely. Even three months ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of the US government getting into the economy in that fashion.

But far likelier is the thing that kills most companies with fat market share -- new technology that renders Google's business model obsolete (the same way Google is killing newspapers), and/or the cost setup changing markedly (either makes it harder for Google to profit or easier for other firms to profit if they join the market).

Re:More economics terms (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25659001)

Google's privileged position and the wealth it has provided them, I would argue, makes them have a special duty to society to CONTINUE to provide us with free, effective search engines.

So you're saying that if someone works hard and is successful, society automatically has a claim on that? Looks like everyone will have to get used to that kind of thinking for the next few years (just like we did in the last few years).

Re:More economics terms (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25659527)

So you're saying that if the water company suddenly decides to shut up shop, we just do without water until somebody can be found to take over the business (providing all their own infrastructure) ?
Get a fucking clue. Should microsoft be allowed to shut up shop, simultaneously sending a kill command to every computer running their OS ?
It's nothing to do with punishing those who are successful, but protecting those who have come to depend on the only game in town. There is a reason those banks got bailed out, not just to give backhanders to the well off CEOs. How many companies would go bust if the banks were left to die ? Where would YOUR wages come from ?
Sometimes you have to do things for the benefit of the larger community, but it seems, as is more and more common these days, most people are only thinking of their own pocket, and fuck the rest of you. That's how we got in this mess.

Re:More economics terms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25660305)

A water company isn't a private entity.

Re:More economics terms (2, Informative)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 5 years ago | (#25660567)

They are in the UK - ever since Thatcher and her voodoo economics decided that profits for shareholders were better than service for customers.

Re:More economics terms (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25660325)

So all I have to do to have a claim on your assets is to become utterly dependent on you?
And stop swearing, you fucking cunt.

Re:More economics terms (2, Insightful)

Shaltenn (1031884) | more than 5 years ago | (#25660933)

I don't know how you can even attempt to draw a parallel to that.

Comparing Google functionality to water. That's ridiculous. Water is fundamentally necessary to life. Google is not.

Did we manage before Google came around? You bet.
Would we cope if Google closed their doors tomorrow morning? You bet.

[offtopic]
Microsoft, like any other company, does not REALLY have an obligation to customers, they can close whenever they want. They shouldn't be able to disable software that you have PAID for without notice. What DRM'd music store attempted to close their doors and disable their DRM servers? Yahoo I think it was.

Corporations have an obligation to stockholders, and that's it. To think otherwise is completely naive.
[/offtopic]

Re:More economics terms (1)

zr (19885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25671353)

he's not thinking naive, he's thinking like a communist. thats how they started, than "rob the robbers" (the capitalist pigs) and so on. didnt end too well, i should know, i was there.

the government has no business meddling with private business.

the job of the government is to keep level playing field in the market, police the streets and maintain army to fend off aggression. thats it. we can manage the rest thank you very much.

Re:More economics terms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25661023)

Sometimes you have to do things for the benefit of the larger community, but it seems, as is more and more common these days, most people are only thinking of their own pocket, and fuck the rest of you. That's how we got in this mess.

For the good of the company is not the same as the good of a person's pocket. The individual's pocket is how we got into this mess, not the overall company. If it's not in a company's interest to provide a service then they should not provide it - as doing so could be worse for them and the rest of society. Just for the sake of correctness water companies are not private companies like Microsoft and Google are.

You sir, are quite confused about the rest of your arguments. If Microsoft wanted to shut down shop and stop releasing or supporting their OSs, that's fine. If they send a kill signal that's a different story - that's a product people have paid for. How much did you pay for Google's search engine? How many billions of dollars did they pay for it? Since when can't you use Yahoo, Cuil, Microsoft, Dogpile, ask.com, and whatever other search engines that are out there?

The banks being bailed out wasn't about companies going bust - it was about the economy as a whole, and I'm sure you don't know about it better than the economists and politicians who admit they guess it was a good idea to bail out the banks.

Re:More economics terms (1)

ccccc (888353) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662149)

Don't be ridiculous. Having run a successful business does not render the Google Corporation and its employees slaves of the state, no matter how much that inconveniences me and the rest of the world. If they decided to close shop five minutes from now, I don't see any defensible reason they should not be allowed to.

They are not the police force or the hospital; if they decide to end their business, switching to MSN or Yahoo will not cause any grave harm to you.

Re:More economics terms (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25658883)

I don't claim to be well versed in microeconomics, but don't you need multiple large firms with equally large shares for an Oligopoly? I think the traditional example here is Coke & PepsiCo. The way the online advertising market is structured, Google has the lion's share of it. There are other large firms in it (e.g. Microsoft) but they don't even begin to have a share of the market similar to Google's.

Re:More economics terms (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25659369)

It doesn't surprise me that that Microsoft can't compete. Microsoft hates the web because they make all their money on desktop applications. .doc and .xls lock-in is more important to Microsoft than the win32 API, because businesses use them and don't pirate (unlike gamers, who would pirate windows just to get directx). If everything happens on the web (i.e. companies start putting their work in html and csv format), then Office will go into a tailspin. Lots of companies make money on advertising, but not enough of the successful ones have made their ads a commodity (like google's adsense). It's just a matter of time, really.

Re:What This Means (2, Interesting)

isBandGeek() (1369017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657341)

It's extremely obvious with the 20/20 vision hindsight affords us that Yahoo should have taken Microsoft's offer. But the real question is: with the information that CEO Yang had at the time, was his decision reasonable?

Re:What This Means (5, Insightful)

tsotha (720379) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657495)

Oh my God, no it wasn't. Yang was treating Yahoo like it was still his company, when in fact it belongs to the shareholders. There was no reasonable way to run Yahoo's numbers and think the stock would be worth what Microsoft was paying within any reasonable time frame.

Actually, this is something of a coup by Google. They screwed both Microsoft and Yahoo without spending a dime.

Re:What This Means (1)

Wee (17189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25666267)

That was my reaction as well. When MS made the offer, Google screams "Hey! Antitrust! Too much market power!" Then they offer to do ads and stuff for Yahoo in order to fend off MS. That torpedoes the MS-Yahoo deal, with Yang thinking the Google help will keep the creaking hulk alive. I mean, the stock's at $25/share, MS is only offering $31/share. That's not much headroom to make up for, is it? Now that we have Google's search that actually works and ads that are easy to buy? Stock drops like a rock, now Google says "Well, yeah, that'd be too much market share for us too" and backs out. Yahoo is a wallflower and has to go slinking back to the MS it once spurned.

I bet we see MS come in with a $15/share offer. They can go to the board and have Yang tossed no problem. He's basically cost the stockholders $19 billion by not taking the deal. Balmer heard the Google news and absolutely wet himself in greedy glee. He's doing his best Burns imitation right now, running around in his soaked-pits shirt, rubbing his mitts together, salivating at thoughts of conquest -- at half the price no less! The man has a permachubby or he's impotent, I'm telling you.

It's going to be hilarious when MS comes rolling into Sunnyvale, showing them all how to use Windows Live SQL 2010 Express or whatever the hell they're calling it. The sales and marketing crowd at Yahoo will love it, since they'll get to run around with a monster budget and tell everyone to bow down because they work at MS. But I bet 1/3 of the Yahoo engineers are gone within three months. Half are fixing up resumes in that time for sure.

The next 6-9 months is going to be a really, really bad time to look for work in the valley.

-B

Re:What This Means (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25675753)

Of course Yahoo employees are going to leave. With such a great job market in California right now, it will be easy for them to.

Oh, wait.

Re:What This Means (1)

all_the_names_are_ta (957291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661715)

It was highly obvious at the time: 1) Yahoo! stock had been in decline for some time. 2) Google was kicking the shit out of it. 3) The offer from Microsoft was substantially above the market price. You have to have really, really good reasons to ignore a large, certain profit. Yang didn't have any.

Re:What This Means (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25657405)

So, by preventing this deal, the DOJ has all but guaranteed Yahoo's demise, thus leaving only two significant players to split the remaining pie, who will probably split the void Yahoo leaves up about equally, so Google will get even more market share than it does now. Alternatively, in the best case, MS still buys Yahoo, resulting in a closer-to-equal market share split, but still with only two legitimate players.

Way to go DOJ, thanks for looking out for us.

Re:What This Means (1)

UnanimousCoward (9841) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657535)

So DOJ can prevent a deal at the expense (read:death) of another company? Don't they have to give up draft picks or something? Oh wait, this is /., that analogy will go nowhere...

Re:What This Means (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661389)

Oh wait, this is /., that analogy will go nowhere...

That's a good thing

You wouldn't complain if it were MS (5, Insightful)

iamapizza (1312801) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657729)

The DoJ isn't partial or biased. They are 'doing their job' by ensuring that a 'threatening' (note the quotes) monopoly doesn't form. In either case, on the flip side, they represent a tiny form of government regulation in a free capitalistic market - so whether you're a Microsoft-hater or a Google-brownnoser, try looking at the real issue here.

Google was about to enter a deal with Yahoo that may have caused a monopoly of sorts (and infested the place with IFRAMEs, how can you not hate IFRAMEs?). The DoJ said they were worried about it. Google pulled out. End of. They saved money instead of waiting for the court case and going through years of appeals and spending millions/billions.

Re:You wouldn't complain if it were MS (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25658173)

They are 'doing their job' by ensuring that a 'threatening' (note the quotes) monopoly doesn't form.

I just think they aren't looking at the big picture, looking at one outcome and missing the alternatives. "Never ascribe to malice..." and all that. By threatening to investigate, they are guaranteeing the competitive landscape gets *worse*. Which of the following is a better market share distribution?
(a) 65 25 10
(b) 70 20 10
(c) 85 15
(d) 70 30

(a) is basically what we have now. Unfortunately it doesn't look like Yahoo can survive purely on its own, so this is no longer an option. (b) is what could happen if the DOJ simply came out and said "We're fine with a Yahoo/Google deal, but you have to limit it to 20% of your impressions", but the DOJ didn't say that, instead being quiet and hiring a litigator. (c) is what happens if Yahoo dies or gets run into the ground (remaining companies eat up the void). (d) is what happens if MS buys Yahoo (Some ground will be lost during integration, just look at other mergers for why).

The DOJ has now all but guaranteed that (c) or (d) will happen. That is a worse situation than a "yes with strings attached" answer they could have given to the deal months ago. It is true that if the DOJ said "do whatever you want", then the situation could be worse (a 90/10 split), but there's a lot of shades of gray between an unconditional yes and "No."

Microsoft will hardly save Yahoo, but might gain.. (1, Troll)

kandresen (712861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657759)

There are very convincing arguments indicating Microsoft may never have intended to buy Yahoo:

In it, it appears that Yahoo is a loss-loss acquisition for Microsoft. It further appear very unlikely that a Microsoft acquisition can be accepted by antitrust authorities.

In that article, Microsoft have so far obtained the first part of what they aimed for; changing the board to a Microsoft friendly board, now comes step two which is not buying yahoo but making a deal to get access to the '361 patent', which the now short term focused board likely will accept to salvage their investment - notice many of those who bought into Yahoo due to the Microsoft deal are closer to day traders than investors... They will sell out Yahoo for quick cash then abandon the company.

Re:Microsoft will hardly save Yahoo, but might gai (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661043)

Here [uspto.gov] is a link to the '361 patent the above poster mentioned,and reading it one could see why MSFT might covet it. That said,I always thought MSFT going after yahoo search was just to throw everyone off what they really wanted,which I think is Yahoo mail. While I personally think Yahoo search is a LOT better than Google,thanks to the "more" tab which will give you relevant queries connected to the original search,I just can't believe MSFT would pay that much for it. And they know that buying outright will probably get them smacked with antitrust.

But if you look at the data [email-mark...eports.com] you'll see that Yahoo is the largest webmail provider,followed by MSFT with Hotmail. Not only would buying Yahoo Mail give MSFT the lead in webmail,but all those emails are a goldmine for data mining,which I'm sure MSFT can capitalize on. That would also give them a lot more eyeballs for their ads,cross promotions,etc while giving MSFT a boost against Google at the same time in the search arena,sine I have noticed many users check their email and then begin searching for their topics from the searchbox at the top of the webmail page.

Personally I hope that MSFT buys it and has enough sense to leave the search and Webmail alone. Because Hotmail and Live search really REALLY suck and I'm quite happy with my Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Search,thank you very much. But knowing MSFT they'll turn it into "Super Live Search 2.0 with the new Vista Look!" and then I'll have to find a new webmail provider. Because as someone who often has to go to areas where there is only dialup I can say that IMHO Gmail sucks the big wet titty when you are on a low bandwidth connection. Their "loading the entire series of emails as one long chat session" really slows it to a crawl. And I like my email folders dammit!

Re:What This Means (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25670305)

What you meant to say, was that a google and yahoo partnership is big enough to create an anti-trust partnership. Google on it's own, while creating a successful marketing illusion, is not really all that big and lacks a wide range of web portal elements. Yahoo represents a broad web portal and it's share price much more realistically matches it's revenue base.

What this does is really point out how much of a failure M$ has been with MSN, while a part google yahoo partnership has antitrust overtones a full MSN yahoo partnership doesn't. It really does make MSN look rather insignificant.

Gooogle spam words a re losing their lustre, most of google revenue increase is coming from bought in companies and simply filling out international expansion and local market increase have been minimal. Google lacks a lot of elements of a web portal and has such has been chasing M$ into the clouds, to create a grand new hope of revenue increase rather than getting down to the nitty gritty of web portal expansion in a really tough competitive enviroment. AOL Time Warner, Disney, Newscorp, NYT are all fighting hard to expand into the web portal market and they will all eat away at google market share and the reality is Yahoo is already successfully surviving in the competitive market.

So who will thrive and who is 'fucked' is not so cut and dried, google has come up lame in recent diversification attempts, MSN continues to lose money hand over fist, the old world media players are still struggling, although they seem to be moving now. At a guess, google will start to suffer as it lacks depth and has real problems when it tries to expand into new product areas apart from buying in expertise at a high price, the old world media companies will slowly but surely bite into everyone else's and each other market share as they continue to gain internet experience, Yahoo will basically hold place (a not to insignificant achievement in the current market, stabilising internet opportunities and harsh financial times) and MSN will continue to bleed, as for the tens of thousands of other web properties across the globe, some will grow, some will die but all of them will trying hard to eat into the market share of the market leaders and will likely have some measure of success.

Re:What This Means (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25675683)

Yeah, but Yang stood up to THE MAN! His shareholders should always take second place to his own personal dislike for MS.

hello (-1, Troll)

brianna102 (1396769) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657449)

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I'm glad the government is in on this. (0)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657461)

It's a good thing my government are protecting my right to competing internet search engines; Google has a very special place in society now given their success and they have a social duty--an obligation if you will--to provide society with quick and effective searches. A monopoly at this point would be bad for society, even though a new search engine could always spring up, it would hurt us too much in the short-term and be anathema to our right to access to Google's search servers. We've made people at Google filthy rich, and if they make things too difficult to us we should go as far as to even spread the wealth around.

Re:I'm glad the government is in on this. (5, Insightful)

walshy007 (906710) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657677)

Google has a very special place in society now given their success and they have a social duty--an obligation if you will--to provide society with quick and effective searches.

The only duty google has is to please it's shareholders, if you were to 'redistribute' the wealth of large companies that annoy you like you say, well that isn't exactly encouraging for people to try to form successful companies is it, what with them putting in the work and collectively everyone else getting the profit.

to our right to access to Google's search servers.

yes, because you have an inalienable human right to access corporately owned servers, you see.... surely even you must see how fallacious this is.

Re:I'm glad the government is in on this. (1)

dnwq (910646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25658511)

Nonetheless, this does raise the interesting question of what happens if Google - or some future similar big company - decides to screw around with its free services. Not what Slashdot's armchair libertarians think should happen, mind you, but what might actually happen.

We have companies that are "too big to fail". Is it possible that there can be services too influential to leave without intervention?

Re:I'm glad the government is in on this. (0)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25659837)

If a large company becomes that way by NOT charging for access to some of its products, then most certainly it should not be allowed to just turn it off on a whim. Should gmail suddenly get turned off because they offer it for free ? Is that in the shareholders best interest ?
I don't see where redistribution of wealth is involved here. The search is currently free - maintaining that status requires no redistribution of anything. And I take no financial profit from using google for search. What about all the advertisers with Adwords etc. are they supposed to see the market penetration drop overnight ? What about their profits ? And they actually PAID for the service !
We are not talking about a small company that has 100,000 users - it is a behemoth that controls the search market virtually worldwide. Maybe you would be happier if the govt. instigated a "search tax" to publicly finance google so that the ordinary person wouldn't have to use their credit card every time they wanted to search. Got to protect (and increase) those corporate profits !
If I created a company such as google has become, then providing free searches is fundamental to my success. Why would I balk at continuing as I already have ? Christ, you make it sound as if we are proposing google should be forcibly sold off and the founders tarred and feathered. That's the trouble with straw man arguments, you very rarely actually consider your argument properly, you just spout shite to sound informative. You sound like you are in favour of the drug dealers approach - the first hit is free.

All that aside, this is getting so far away from the point that it's getting ridiculous. The story is about google dropping their bid for yahoo, because of potential monopoly concerns. So in fact none of this idle speculation is relevant. If they had closed the deal and become the de facto monopolist search engine then maybe we could argue about their obligations, but they haven't, they aren't and we shouldn't.

Re:I'm glad the government is in on this. (2, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661003)

Should gmail suddenly get turned off because they offer it for free ? Is that in the shareholders best interest ?

What if it is? What if it isn't, and it's a mistake? So what. You're proposing that the government should rule on what's in a given company's shareholders' best interests?

then providing free searches is fundamental to my success

And business models never change? What, do you still have your job at the telegraph office, bicycling Western Union paper scraps around town? Businesses evolve, and pursue what they please. Should the government be forcing AOL to back into mailing around CDs full of dial-up internet access software?

this is getting so far away from the point that it's getting ridiculous

No, it's not. Because the issue is whether or not government should be making business decisions for private businesses. We've just enhanced the power of a political party that thinks government should be more involved in businesses, more involved in your personal life, and more involved in specifically who should actually receive the money you earn... so ANY topic that brushes up against that philosophical issue is actually very pointed.

Re:I'm glad the government is in on this. (0)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25662399)

You're proposing that the government should rule on what's in a given company's shareholders' best interests?

No I'm not. I'm suggesting that if a de facto monopoly shuts down its service there must be continuity of service. Do you suggest we shut the web down for a few months while another company spools up to fill the void ?
If they want to change their business model - fine. But as a monopoly they should not be allowed to just fuck off and leave us all in the shit. There should be contingencies to deal with such an occurrence. What takes precedence, private shareholders or the health of the entire nations web services ? Maybe you missed the last year or so, because I saw governments making business decisions for plenty of BANKS because they fucked us over. Sometimes there are more important issues than 1 company's selfish choices.
I repeat - we are talking about monopoly status. Which is why it is irrelevant because they aren't a monopoly. If you want to continue to argue about a moot point, carry on my friend.

Re:I'm glad the government is in on this. (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#25664315)

if a de facto monopoly shuts down its service there must be continuity of service

Why? There is only one walk-up ice cream store in my neighborhood. They own that market. There is no competition. Should they be forced to stay in business if they don't feel like doing it any more, or want to change how they do what they do?

What takes precedence, private shareholders or the health of the entire nations web services?

Gee... maybe if you're betting your own entire ability to make a living on whether or not one other business continues to do something in exactly the way you're hoping they will, you're taking way too much risk to complain? There are plenty of other businesses doing what Google does. If Google folded up their tent and went away, there would be huge amounts of capital flowing, that day to Yahoo, MS, and others to invest in filling that role. Don't like the idea of disruption during the transition? It's no different than a shipping company needing to take into account road closures, fleet recalls, or anything else. If you don't want to carry the cost of some insurance against a disruption in your business model, then you're not charging enough for what you do... or can't complain when it happens. You can't have it both ways. And hoping that the government will be there to coddle you is absurd. Well, it was until Tuesday. Now the government is there to coddle everyone! Yay! I can't wait. Oh wait. I work, so I'll be paying even more for someone else's coddling.

A duty to the consumer as well (1)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661203)

The only duty google has is to please it's shareholders, if you were to 'redistribute' the wealth of large companies that annoy you like you say, well that isn't exactly encouraging for people to try to form successful companies is it, what with them putting in the work and collectively everyone else getting the profit.

Just to clarify something, Google has a duty to it's consumers as well. The two consumer groups it has are:

1) Searchers. This is the obvious one, but what's less obvious is that they aren't paying money direct to google, so they aren't directly a source of revenue. However, we do "pay" with our eyeballs as we see Google ads on their search engine. It's their duty to make sure as many eyeballs are on those ads, but at the same time don't piss us off so much that we go somewhere else for search content because ads are choking the results. Their duty is to keep us searching as much as possible because that helps with their primary source of revenue.

2) Ad buyers. Less obvious to the average joe, but of course their primary source of revenue. Would yahoo be a good thing for these ad buyers, or would the decrease in competition increase prices and reduce choice? It's their duty to ad buyers as consumers to provide a good product, and a duty to the market place to not act like a monopoly or stifle real competition.

The shareholders don't care about these things, they are just about getting more money. However, as one of those "obama liberals" who wants to "spread the wealth," I want to do so by maintaining and encouraging competition, and reminding everyone that we should be looking out for the consumer, not share holders.

Companies that put shareholders first and consumers second should not be tolerated. Companies that put consumers first often find that the shareholders are taken care of in the bargain.

Re:I'm glad the government is in on this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25663253)

I think what gp is trying to say is that Google now provides a service that has become necessary to most people's use of the internet. In that sense, they should be treated like a utility.

Re:I'm glad the government is in on this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25657765)

This was an *ad* deal. Yahoo could have then focused on improving its search engine.

old news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25657467)

I coulda sworn that I already read about this story when I got to work early this morning, but now the story posts at nearly 11pm. Thanks for being on your game slashdot.

Error in title (1)

Flavius Iulianus (1093015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657791)

It should be "Google kills Yahoo".

yeah, blame google (3, Insightful)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657819)

Not M$ who first ruined their stock by proxy, then whispered 'antitrust' long enough into the appropriate ears so Google had to cease supporting Yahoo.

Re:yeah, blame google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25658069)

They offered a fuckload more money than Yahoo was worth. Microsoft offered an opportunity for Yahoo to salvage itself, and they spurned it. It's not Microsoft's "fault", it's not Google's "fault".

Mostly, it's Yang's fault for his incredible hubris.

Who knows? Maybe Yahoo will surprise everyone and become bigger than Google and Yahoo combined. Anything's possible. But if so, it won't be because Yang's choice was right, given what we and he knew now or those months ago.

Re:yeah, blame google (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25665343)

I was sure someone would blame Microsoft for Yahoos lack of a business and Yangs lack of common sense.

And now Yang wants Microsoft to buy Yahoo... (2, Informative)

Barnoid (263111) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657879)

Re:And now Yang wants Microsoft to buy Yahoo... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25675817)

To which Balmer should respond, "Sure Jerry. We'll offer you a fraction of what we offered to you a few months ago when you told us to go to hell. And we'll only offer *that* if part of the package includes you giving my shoes an on-camera polishing with your tongue."

Yahoo could be fine (4, Insightful)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 5 years ago | (#25657881)

Yahoo is fine, if they are given time by their shareholders.  And a new leader.  Yahoo has failed to innovate significantly in years.  For example, I know I started using Yahoo Maps in the late nineties.  By 2005 it was exactly the same, but now Google Maps was on the scene and had the cool ajax interface, satellite imagery overlays, and other cool stuff.  Yahoo started rolling that stuff out like, last year.

They do have an extended userbase, and there is value in that, but they are right back where they found their stock price 8 years ago for a reason--a failure to innovate in an industry that values effective innovation over all things.  I mean, it takes them several years to copy what Google did years ago...new management is needed (but not MS!  that would be a disaster for both companies).

Re:Yahoo could be fine (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#25658913)

They do need innovations. Sadly, they are not going to get them because their best ppl have been leaving. If Yang was serious about innovation, he would set up an X prize approach for ideas to come from OUTSIDE. They would then fund those ppl with great ideas, or even make offers to come onboard. The hard part is that the judges on it, can NOT have interaction with regular company, nor can they use the ideas without it winning.

Re:Yahoo could be fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25680585)

They do need innovations. Sadly, they are not going to get them because their best ppl have been leaving. If Yang was serious about innovation, he would set up an X prize approach for ideas to come from OUTSIDE. They would then fund those ppl with great ideas, or even make offers to come onboard. The hard part is that the judges on it, can NOT have interaction with regular company, nor can they use the ideas without it winning.

You mean like basing the entire future of the company on the results of Yahoo's yearly Codefest?

Re:Yahoo could be fine (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661635)

...new management is needed (but not MS! that would be a disaster for both companies).

The only downside I am seeing here is that we would lose Yahoo.

Re:Yahoo could be fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25662327)

...new management is needed (but not MS! that would be a disaster for both companies).

The only downside I am seeing here is that we would lose Yahoo.

Where's the downside there?

Re:Yahoo could be fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25678967)

A lot of us use Yahoo's services. So do a lot of other people. More than use MSN, Hotmail, etc. at the very least. ....and, you know, there's that whole decreased number of competitors thing. But I'm sure that as a day trader with tons of Microsoft or Google stock you could do without this. That IS why you're against competition in this case, right?

Re:Yahoo could be fine (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25674929)

Not only a lack of innovation, quality has been decreasing for a long time even. I was using yahoo groups with a group of people for a while, but its calendar notifications and complicated login structure became completely messy. I don't think any of us still knows how to log in there. A shame, because it was pretty good in the beginning.

Responsible... (1)

Geak (790376) | more than 5 years ago | (#25658335)

It could just be because of the "Google is not evil" thing. They want to maintain that image. They are doing the responsible thing and promoting competition in the market. Any company that is big enough to run amock in anti-trust law is probably also greedy enough to go ahead with the deal. When the DOJ comes knocking they'll just take the ass pounding in court for a few years until the DOJ runs low on funds and drops it. In the meantime the company is still making far more profit as a result of the deal than they are paying out in legal fees.

Of course, another strong possibility is that Microsoft is pointing fingers. It wouldn't be the first time. Ballmer wants to fucking kill Google. *ducks*

Yahoo radio ads (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#25659403)

I heard a yahoo radio ad yesterday. It was promoting Yahoo's safer search results compared to Google because they've teamed with McAfee anti virus and spam.

I was slightly surprised as I can't recall the last time I heard the "Yahooooo". Let alone hear anyone suggest that McAfee is good.

Re:Yahoo radio ads (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661657)

How can teaming up with spam make their searches safer?

Pushing yahoo to lap of microsoft, neocon style (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25660775)

thats what exactly it is. microsoft has been way too chummy with neocons in the last 8 years, who were staffing up DOJ with their own supporters only. remember, in a senate hearing a hag admitted that she has screened the DOJ applicants FORTY times for their political views, 'by mistake'.

when microsoft bids failed, and microsoft chose not to go for a hostile takeover to prevent damaging its public image, for some reason doj started looking into the google-yahoo deal out of 'concerns of anti trust'. how convenient, how timely, what a coincidence.

if there is anyone still having doubts, i would like to remind them how microsoft bribed innumerable officials in various countries in the standards case, and how many scandals erupted as a result.

microsoft is not above anything, it seems.

Re:Pushing yahoo to lap of microsoft, neocon style (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#25661701)

when microsoft bids failed, and microsoft chose not to go for a hostile takeover to prevent damaging its public image, for some reason doj started looking into the google-yahoo deal out of 'concerns of anti trust'. how convenient, how timely, what a coincidence.

Consider that the Google-Yahoo deal didn't exist until after the MS bids failed.

Re:Pushing yahoo to lap of microsoft, neocon style (1)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 5 years ago | (#25666013)

What kind of drugs does one have to abuse and for how long in order to see the world the way you see it? Did it start in the womb or was it something you recently adopted?

Terrible for Google/Yahoo/MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25664607)

To me this looks like Google pulled Yahoo away from MS and then dropped them. It goes to show how big corporations really are. Also, blaming MS is pointless as they're doing the very thing as those who lobby against MS OS monopoly should have been doing. Obviously MS got the idea from somewhere else as their strength is not creativity. Google gave this up too easily and that partially revealed their hand. It only indicates they wanted to slay Yahoo just the same as Microsoft, but in the guise of being "friendly" in order to woo the open source and anti-monopoly (i.e. MS) crowd. Focusing this just on MS and making Google the hero is a big mistake. The bottom-line here is money, and the loot (which is Yahoo), and NOT the health of the industry.

Google and Microsoft are the same in my book. Though some would argue Google is worse in this case because they're better at playing nice, then ripping their guts at the last minute. They put up a really good image, it's very shiny and looks very open and accepting, but an image is all that it is. Under that facade is another very ambitious company, and they only need/want one thing and that is money. Taking Yahoo out of the picture just makes their pockets fatter. Even better for them if Yahoo is dead, scavenged and gone.

So my point is Google just played the part in this one, but dropped it when the fight got tough. For company like Google to drop it so easy makes it so blatantly obvious. They're just going through motions.

Google Getting Increasingly Powerful Over Media (1)

craigoda (7137) | more than 5 years ago | (#25665651)

Google is getting increasingly influential over how the world gets access to media. There's an analysis here about how the beta launch of the Chrome browser generated 450,000 independent blogs over the course of 60 days. Google Chrome is also the top sponsored link for searches on "browser" or "web browser." On the organic search side, Google Chrome ranks near the top on Google Search, Google Blog search, and Google news.

  http://is.gd/6mJk [is.gd]

I'm inclined to believe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25667961)

MS pulled some strings at the DOJ to make sure they paid extra special attention to this deal in hopes of what just happened. It's Microsoft's style (unethical business practice).
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