No news is bad news

Yahoo! may not want Microsoft to buy them but I suspect they are enjoying the attention the Microsoft offer has brought to the brand. For a while now Yahoo! has been struggling to regain the spotlight from Google. With Microsoft’s offer they suddenly have that spotlight albeit for different reasons. I’m curious to see whether this attention translates into increased sales revenues – I suspect it could. If it does, the old saying that: “no news is bad news,” may well prove correct.

btw – for those of you that track this blog, you may recall my YouTube measure. Since I last checked (which was back in December) Google’s postings have increased from 169,000 to 192,000 (an increase of 13.6%), while Yahoo!’s have increased from 123,000 to 149,000 (an increase of 21%).

Google’s stance is hard to swallow

Google is clearly scared that if Microsoft succeeds in buying Yahoo! it will lose it’s dominance in the search/online ad sales business. So it is using the idea that if a deal gets done Microsoft will suddenly become the dominant email and instant messaging player as a way to get the deal called off by antri-trust lawyers. There are few things that make this a hard line to swallow:

1. Microsoft is already the dominant email supplier in the workplace thanks to Outlook. Indeed if you taker the email market as a whole I’m sure Microsoft is way ahead of any rival thanks to Hotmail so this doesn’t really change things that much.
2. They are so obviously picking a fight that has nothing to do with the real… fight. The real battle is about online ads. Google has been killing the competition for several years now thanks to the dominance of its search engine. A deal with Yahoo! would simply make Microsoft a real competitor as opposed to a potential competitor.
3. They think it is OK for them to be a dominant player but not Microsoft. In effect they are suggesting that Microsoft’s history suggests that if they become dominant in the Internet business then they will treat the Internet just like they did the PC business and that will be a bad thing. I think we all know that even if Microsoft pulled off this deal and even if they then de-throned Google, the governments around the world would be watching them like a hawk. And the governments have been pretty successful in getting their way when they take on Microsoft in court.

Of course you can’t blame them for reacting to the deal but judging by the drop in Google’s share price (now below $500 for the first time in over six months) it is clear that the market thinks they are running scared. I almost wonder whether they would have been better to play down the deal rather than look as if they are scared by it.

PS – I know Yahoo’s name has an exclamation mark after it but Google’s Blogger won’t allow me to use one in the labels section…