Pot, kettle, black: Google fires back at Microsoft

by admin on February 4, 2008

in Featured,General

In what can only be described as classic Silicon Valley FUD, top Google lawyer and proxy for the executive board David Drummond characterizes Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo! as ‘troubling:’

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.

As might be expected, pundits have plenty to say about this. Ina Fried gets it right for me when she makes the pot, kettle, black reference. If Google’s ‘Do no evil’ mantra meant something in the past, it sure as heck is pretty much meaningless today. Ask a Google engineer to give you a rough idea what they’re working upon and the answer is likely to be: “It’s a secret.” So much for openness.

Mike Arrington sums up the position Google now finds itself in when he says:

But 2008 may be the year Google can no longer hide behind the “David v. Goliath” defense with Microsoft. Google is the reason that Yahoo has stumbled so badly, and may be Microsoft’s last hope to be a meaningful player on the Internet over the long run. To put it bluntly, the roles are reversed. Google is now the Goliath, and they’re public whimpering on the acquisition makes them look petty and scared.

MaryJo Foley has a slightly different take when she asks:

The monopolist slug fest officially has begun. Desktop-operating-system monopolist vs. online-advertising monopolist. Or maybe monopolist of tech worlds past vs. monopolist of tech worlds future?

Truth be known, Google has had a pretty easy ride of things the last few years as its revenue and earnings rocketed skywards. It is only now, when it has seen its stock take a pounding following an earnings miss that Google is having to react. Only it’s picked the wrong fight. Attempting to catch the regulator’s eye with such an obviously hypocritical position won’t work. If anything, it is likely to bring Google unwelcome attention as the numbers come under scrutiny.

Microsoft wasn’t going to give Google a pass on their statement. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel returned fire with:

Today, Google is the dominant search engine and advertising company on the Web. Google has amassed about 75 percent of paid search revenues worldwide and its share continues to grow. According to published reports, Google currently has more than 65 percent search query share in the U.S. and more than 85 percent in Europe. Microsoft and Yahoo! on the other hand have roughly 30 percent combined in the U.S. and approximately 10 percent combined in Europe.

Microsoft is committed to openness, innovation, and the protection of privacy on the Internet. We believe that the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo! will advance these goals.

He’s right. And before anyone screams ‘liar’ about his ‘openness’ gesture, it’s worth noting that outside of the Windows franchise, Microsoft has been remarkably open.

This story is going to run and run but regardless of the posturing, Microsoft looks set to win this one. It’s been in the planning for a very long time, the bid timing was near perfect even if many think the outcome could be a disaster. Clearly Google is not in that latter camp. It’s running scared at a time when it can least afford.

ENDNOTE: for an entertaining view of the Microsoft-Yahoo merger, check Zoli’s round up of metaphors. Or Kara Swisher’s interpretation of Steve Ballmer’s letter to the Yaho! Board.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Krupo February 5, 2008 at 4:50 am

Ah, "public whimpering" perfectly describes that original post from Google. A really unusual posting on their part. Wonder what they were thinking?

post script: the "captcha" for this comment was "filth bullet"… sounds like a catchy term for some kind of bad public blog post or something…

masmax January 2, 2010 at 2:37 am

I suggest http://www.pixeleco.combecause it’s the best Black Google search engine out there and saves energy too.

Anonymous April 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Found this post when looking for more news info on the Black Google Blackl. A video on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co7WeHGLaEo) showed a Bloomberg news release for a Black Google.
The principle still holds true. Google is getting more and more market share. Both by their own platform and by other systems using their features such as websites using adsense or search engines such as Blackl featured on the Bloomberg news report shown on that video.

It does worry me if Google keeps gaining market share. Right now it looks like this trend will continue. The recent move to pull out of China was smart as it should keep discussions away from their dominant position.

For me Microsoft does have a good starting point with Bing. They finally realised that people use Google because it just gives them what they want –> a search engine.
Microsoft and Yahoo always filled their search platforms with news, advertising, social media links, etc. That was not why people went to their search websites for. They were going there to search. The clutter on their search pages meant that in the first years of the internet when conncetions were slow, Google was a lot easier to access. I remember people switching to Google as Google just loaded the search box and would open in a few seconds while MSN and Yahoo would take over 10 seconds to open.

In a way I am happy that the bid for Yahoo failed. This still leaves a market where people have 3 options. Loosing Yahoo would be a huge loss. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have 3 different approaches to internet search and the diversity of what is offered is something I would like to see going into the future.

lauraly April 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Found this post when looking for more news info on the Black Google Blackl. A video on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co7WeHGLaEo) showed a Bloomberg news release for a Black Google.The principle still holds true. Google is getting more and more market share. Both by their own platform and by other systems using their features such as websites using adsense or search engines such as Blackl featured on the Bloomberg news report shown on that video.It does worry me if Google keeps gaining market share. Right now it looks like this trend will continue. The recent move to pull out of China was smart as it should keep discussions away from their dominant position. For me Microsoft does have a good starting point with Bing. They finally realised that people use Google because it just gives them what they want –> a search engine.Microsoft and Yahoo always filled their search platforms with news, advertising, social media links, etc. That was not why people went to their search websites for. They were going there to search. The clutter on their search pages meant that in the first years of the internet when conncetions were slow, Google was a lot easier to access. I remember people switching to Google as Google just loaded the search box and would open in a few seconds while MSN and Yahoo would take over 10 seconds to open.In a way I am happy that the bid for Yahoo failed. This still leaves a market where people have 3 options. Loosing Yahoo would be a huge loss. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have 3 different approaches to internet search and the diversity of what is offered is something I would like to see going into the future.

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