Friday, February 08, 2008

The St. Valentines Day Massacre of Google

There is an old article on the Internet, 16 months back or so, a decade it seems in Internet Time. I bring it forward to now, as it contains the insights of what I think is required today to make sense of the Microsoft hostile takeover of Yahoo! started Feb 1, 2008.

The article: What's The Score With Search? - 10/24/2006 by Warren Cowan.

See, about 2/3 of the way down, here:

The three giants of the Web--the unstoppable Google, Yahoo and Microsoft-- continue to fight daily to gain the hearts and minds with their online audiences, and ensure search remains on the daily news agenda.
And next, is the answer to the why of this takeover attempt. Warren originally looked at something inhouse but with Yahoo! Microsoft will have a
a new search engine offering that has the potential to be integrated into each of its applications such as Word or Excel.
Call that new search engine, "Yahoo! with MSN" (friendlier to the lay Internet folk).

Ok, so who owns the market for the Office Suite, and the OS of today? Microsoft with 90% + shares in each.

Integrate the search cleverly (cannot be unbundled said with straight face, in MS Office 2009 and Windows 7) with only 2/3 of the competitors left that count and you have Microsoft v. Google, for "search" advertising.

Who wins?

Check history. This has been done before. See Netscape Navigator, multiplatform browser application. See Internet Explorer browser made free and integrated into the OS on the front pages. Cannot be unbundled said with a straight face in court. See Netscape stock near $72 fall to $4, bought by AOL (for Netscape "portal" eyeballs).

See Google now. Say goodbye Google. Microsoft is coming for you. And only you. It wants your oxygen, your destination, as the choicest search engine. Nothing free this time. Only embrace and extend.

Mr Brin, ask Jim Barksdale and James Clark if they thought the DOJ was going to save them at any point in time? If they thought that Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson could at least vindicate them as not being sitting ducks and 'stupid business people' as the lore goes now? I don't want to watch another company burn for nothing. I like Google just as much as I liked Netscape, relatively. Both had a huge jump on Microsoft, till Microsoft woke up.

It was dramatic, on a December 7, 1995 for Netscape, and what day for Google? Not that dramatic, February 1, 2008, but then if Gates was leading the charge, he might have waited for Valentines Day, not for love, but the massacre, with a similar smirk to the date's relevance in history. While announcing to great fanfare that IE Explorer was to be free (the major announcement), the *real*
Netscape oxygen killer was in the server announcement, in the details, that is was also to be also free and integrated into each OS server sale (where Netscape was cashing in v. MS's standalone IIS).

But Sergey Bryn and co, you have your days numbered here (for your survival strategy sessions, use the date of Feb 14 as in the 1929 Chicago gangland massacre) and unless you can do the things that Netscape didn't or couldn't do, you will go down in lore as 'stupid business people' too.

See you made the same mistake as Netscape: awake the Giant. Netscape announced Netscape ONE, an application development framework that was OS independent, aimed squarely at Microsoft's turf. Google, you put "Word" and "Excel" equivalents out on the Internet for free and promise more of the same.

Too bad, behind the corporate wall, you are shut out, as Microsoft owns that space, and FLOSS/OpenOffice is not getting traction in that environment or in government circles, even for free. Microsoft is betting the company on retaining that space, and they will, at any cost. You made the mistake of threatening Microsoft just as Netscape did. While they might have been slow to react to your firing shot, Netscape ONE was something that also "seemed" to be beyond Microsofts' public notice outside of the MS evangelists who got the threat immediately.

Now with $44 billion of cash on the table, for Yahoo!, do you think they are going to spell it out for you and the DOJ, that this is directly aimed at your necks, your relevance as a starting point, in search?

What are your financial results going to look like if 90% of people use MS' Yahoo! Search, instead of Google Search? How does that impact your AdSense program and the advertising revenue you get now? How is that going to be on your cash of today, your stock? You feel a little tightness in your chest, looking for oxygen?

Time for radical thinking, Sergey. Cause if Microsoft gets Yahoo! out of the way, and once search goes integrated into Microsoft core turf, you will be hard pressed to get into that "integrated" application and OS space, and with it being too tough to get rid of, or out of the way, you are toast.

Did any complaint get anyone really anywhere against MS? Did the DOJ case help? Too late for them. Do the Europeans really think they count on the US' own turf?

A tip: get 24 hour protection on all your companies lawns. Your workers may wake with a MS logo on the front lawn coming into work one day, probably the RTM day of Windows 7 and Office 2009. That day is on the horizon for you, if they get Yahoo! Guaran-Google-teed.

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