Google and Ballmer on Microsoft-Yahoo
The openness of the Internet is what made Google — and Yahoo! — possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It’s what makes the Internet such an exciting place.
So 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.
On the flipside, this purchase could very well destroy both Microsoft and Yahoo. Microsoft would empty its war chest on something that can’t compete with Google, and Yahoo would be slowed down by the dinosaurs at Microsoft. I’m sure Google wouldn’t mind that bit. The sad part is, somewhere deep down beneath all that fat and bravado, Ballmer knows this.
Ballmer said he loved when his rivals merged, because whenever the also-rans in any market start teaming up they might as well be waving a white flag. Because it’s over. You’ve beaten them. You’ve driven them to despair. They haven’t been able to beat you on their own; there’s no way they’ll do it together.
Microsoft-Yahoo won’t kill Google. It’ll just annoy everyone else.
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