I know the Internet world is at a virtual stand-still waiting for yet more commentary on the proposed Yahoo and Microsoft merger, so here I am with my take!
1. It Should Have Been eBay. I still think an eBay-Yahoo merger would have been a better fit. There is a lot of overlap between MSN and Yahoo (search, email, portals) but there’s virtually no overlap between eBay and Yahoo. Imagine Yahbay – online auctions, comparison shopping, email, IM, portal and search – all in one company. Now that’s a real powerhouse. But MSN and Yahoo – beyond a more powerful force in paid search, I don’t really see the synergy.
2. Google’s Crocodile Tears. The blog post by Google’s chief counsel David Drummond was just plain silly. Google complaining about anti-competitive activity is like Barry Bonds complaining about illegal doping in Major League Baseball.
As I’ve written in the past, I’m surprised that Google’s huge market share, discriminatory pricing, product bundling, and anti-competitive usage terms haven’t already triggered anti-trust investigations of Google. Sad but true, but Microsoft is the “little guy” in this fight.
And in the search wars, no one’s hands are clean.
3. Please, Please, Please Get New Interfaces. OK, so assuming this acquisition does go through, here’s some free advice for MSN and YSM: get rid of your paid search user interfaces and just copy Google! I give Yahoo some credit from updating from the old Overture interface, but the new YSM UI is still miles and miles behind AdWords. And MSN has some neat features (parameters, competitive intent scores), but is just unusable on a daily basis.