Microsoft has released the following statement by Brad Smith, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation, on the proposed acquisition of DoubleClick by Google:
â€œThis proposed acquisition raises serious competition and privacy concerns in that it gives the Google DoubleClick combination unprecedented control in the delivery of online advertising, and access to a huge amount of consumer information by tracking what customers do online. We think this merger deserves close scrutiny from regulatory authorities to ensure a competitive online advertising market.â€
Aw snap! It’s on!
But seriously, that’s some serious stuff to be spouting. Microsoft did this as a concerted effort, along with Yahoo and AT&T, all of whom want the government to closely look at Google’s purchase of DoubleClick. Those companies all wanted to buy DoubleClick, and it was a known thing in industry circles that the asking price for the ad firm was around two billion dollars. Google bought it for $3.1 billion, lifting its pastel colored middle finger all the way, and that aggressiveness is only going to remind regulators of one thing:
Yeah, Google may have become Microsoft over the weekend. 1990s Microsoft, that is. That Microsoft was powerful, nimble, ballsy, aggressive, and kicked your ass ten different ways if it thought you were even thinking about competiting. That Microsoft went too far, and got smacked down, and is working hard to become a successful company while not becoming that company. Looks like Google didn’t learn.
Is anything going to happen? Short term, hell no. Google is going to have to answer some tough questions, but it’ll get DoubleClick. However, if DoubleClick becomes successful as a part of Google, and Google claims more market share, and becomes a monopoly in search, online advertising, online applications, and online video, it is in for some serious trouble. Between the two, Google and DoubleClick account for eighty percent of online ads delivered to publishers, a scary statistic.
You thought it was bad when Microsoft got hit by regulators last time? Thoughts on the Google side in my next post on InsideGoogle.
What does this mean for Microsoft? They’re acknowledging that they are scared. That Google is too rich, has too much momentum and market share, and is moving too fast and hard for anyone else. Microsoft knows that a non-competitive market is a bad place to be, unless you are the top dog, and it doesn’t want to be the Mac to Google’s Windows (or more likely and worse, the Lotus to Google’s Office).
Microsoft sees the writing on the wall. Google’s position in search is nearly impossible to attack. They’ve tried with some serious balls-to-the-wall coding, hiring, and spending money. Yahoo built a world class platform, and lost market share. Ask is innovating like Edison, and can’t climb out of the cellar. I really like Google search, but a one-sided market is just unfair. We need a shakeup, we need innovation and risks.
When was the last time Google changed anything significant in its search engine? It tweaks and it tweaks and it tweaks, but it won’t do an advanced interface. Why? Because it knows it has the market share, so it only needs to (a) tweak the pages to use up less bandwidth and processor power and (b) make small improvements to keep things moving forward, albeit at five miles per hour.
Google Search is Internet Explorer 6. There, I said it. I love Google, but holy crap, I don’t want them to become Microsoft. Maybe they already are.
Okay, I’ve got more to say on the Google side, but I’m going to continue this on the InsideGoogle blog.
And an update: The Birthday Gift Camera Fund stands at anywhere from 20-35% complete, and don’t forget to wish a happy birthday…