Microsoft Goes Crying to the Government Over Google
If your weekend
was a washout
, just keep in mind that it could have been worse. You could
work for the search team at Microsoft.
Redmond's flailing search ambitions took a major hit late last week when Google
announced that it intended to spend $3.1
billion to buy DoubleClick, the provider of online advertising-management
technology that Microsoft also coveted. (The worst part about the whole deal
for Microsoft seems to be that, according to the Times of London, old
bean, Microsoft matched Google's offer -- but DoubleClick
turned Redmond down. Ouch.)
So Microsoft, having lost what many observers considered to be its final opportunity
to make up ground on Google in search -- unless you believe, as Mary Jo Foley
suggests, that this whole thing is playing
right into Microsoft's hands -- is turning to the last refuge of the desperate
company: the antitrust complaint.
Oh, yes. Drink in the irony. Microsoft and friends -- including AT&T, AOL
and Yahoo! -- want antitrust regulators to look
into the Google-DoubleClick deal. (Microsoft's own official statement is
Check out what oft-quoted Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith had to say about
the whole thing in this
Seattle Times article:
"By putting together a single company that will control virtually
the entire market...Google will control the economic fuel of the Internet."
Uh, Brad, are you sure you want to be the one to bring this up? Do we even
have to point out the attendant irony here, especially in
light of current events? Probably not. But we will say this: We spend a
lot of time here at RCPU defending Microsoft from Europe's
voracious antitrust regulators, and we're very disappointed to see Microsoft
taking the same sad tack that so many of its competitors have taken: running
to the government when it gets beaten in a market. To paraphrase Anthony Michael
Hall's line in Pirates
of Silicon Valley, Google got the loot, Steve. (In this case, of course,
the "Steve" is Ballmer, not Jobs...but we digress.) You bid for DoubleClick,
and you lost. Heck, if the Times of London has its story straight, old
chap, DoubleClick turned you down.
It's time to reevaluate Microsoft search -- and, actually, it has been for
a while. Redmond needs to scale
back on the search effort, develop technology internally or find some other
way to compete. But please, Microsoft, don't go running to the government for
protection. You, of all companies, should know better.
What do you think of Microsoft's search business now that Google has bought
DoubleClick? Are you worried about the resources Redmond is sinking into search?
Let me know at [email protected].
Posted by Lee Pender on 04/17/2007 at 1:20 PM