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Why Didn't Microsoft Try to Buy Google?
Monday, February 04, 2008
You know all of this talk about Microsoft putting in another bid to purchase Yahoo is starting to make wonder if Microsoft is making the right decision. More importantly if Yahoo accepts the offer is Yahoo making the right decision? I just don't think that the deal with go through... at least not for a paltry $44.6 billion. (Yes I said paltry) Many suggest that this is a fair offer. Personally I think that it is a low offer that under-values Yahoo. Think about it, Yahoo is still the most popular destination on the Web. Their search product is much better than Microsoft's. Which leads me to all of the discussion that this deal is all about Search. Even if the two merged they still lack sufficient market share in the Search arena that is dominated by Google.

Speaking of which, prior to when Google went public in 2004, many valued the search giant to be worth an estimated $36 billion. So why didn't Microsoft try to make a pitch for Google? Well maybe they tried to and the Google guys just shook their heads. You cannot tell me that Microsoft didn't see that Google was going to be the dominant player in search as far back as 2002/2003. Instead of Microsoft focusing on search and improving the user experience, they're trying to acquire Yahoo. That in a nutshell represents the difference in approach to search between Google and Microsoft. The fact is that even if the deal goes through Google will still remain the industry leader. Google is much more innovative. Microsoft does not have the drive, passion or the people to turn their search product around. Yahoo does, which is most likely why Microsoft wants to acquire the number two company in Search. Microsoft just doesn't have the leadership to take their search product to the next level. Rand Fishkin over at SEOmoz tends to echo this sentiment when he states:
If Microsoft and Yahoo! combine, build something game-changing and launch, they're almost certainly better off doing it together. Sadly, though, I don't give this theory much of a shot. Innovation in the web world doesn't, and hasn't come from Microsoft and I don't think the current leadership is willing to make the kinds of changes necesssary to bring back the explorative, enterpreneurial style necessary to create a Google killer (or an eBay, Craiglist or Amazon for that matter).
I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is a desperation move by Microsoft. They have failed miserably at Search and they know it. While industry reports suggest that Google has anywhere from 55-60% of the search market share, many believe that Google actually has closer to 70% market share. I mean this whole thing reminds of a professional sports team such as the New York Yankees trying to purchase a championship or when the Los Angeles Kings acquired Wayne Gretzky in the hockey trade of the century from the Edmonton Oilers in 1988. The Kings got the best player in the game, surrounded him with other top players, yet still could not win a Stanley Cup. Even if Microsoft acquires Yahoo they will still be second. So they're buying a silver medal instead of the bronze (third place) medal that they have become accustomed to. I'm at the point where I wish more people would use ASK.com. It's a much better search product than Live Search providing a more fulfilling user experience than Microsoft, Yahoo or Google.

So when Google was an up and coming search entity, why didn't Microsoft try to acquire them? How did Microsoft overlook online advertising and search? The fact of the matter is, is that when it comes to search, Microsoft doesn't get it. They don't understand what search means to the user or to the advertisers for that matter. They've dug themselves into a deep hole. Now in 2008 instead of working on new search innovations, they feel a need to take the easy way out by trying to acquire Yahoo. From a search marketing perspective and a user of search this frustrates me. While I personally prefer to use ASK and Google as my search engines of choice I can also appreciate the Yahoo product. It needs work, but at least they make attempts at innovations with search. Microsoft does not. They lack creativity and passion for search.

While I'm not in the know about all of the details like many over at Search Engine Land and the like, I think this deal stinks and does not improve the search landscape but may in fact set it back. The good news in all of this is that ASK could inherit some market share by default as users look to an alternative to Micro-Hoo or Yahoo-Soft or whatever the heck they decide to call their product. This is a predictable move by Microsoft, let's just hope that Jerry Yang and the powers that be at Yahoo make a choice that is the best possible decision for Yahoo, their users and searchers in general.

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posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Monday, February 04, 2008  
  • At 8:07 PM, Anonymous Azhar said…


    You ar 100% rigth.
    If microsoft aquires yahoo.
    Surely it will be a great disaster for the online community.
    So their statergies will be to increase the profits from the search engines and ANTI GOOGLE.
    That means we will not see any INNOVATION FROM YAHOO-SOFT.


  • At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Of course, it's too late for microsoft to make any real attempt at buying into the search engines and google is to highly regarded for them to start their own search engine, so it's very obvious that Microsoft will end up much the same as IBM or Apple, a smaller corporation doomed to become a single component in new computers or perhaps dissapear entirely.

  • At 8:56 AM, Anonymous Joshua Issac said…

    If Microsoft buys Yahoo! only good can come out of it as it will challenge Google's search monopoly. Google < Microsoft + Yahoo, so Google should be broken up into different companies.

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