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The Search Monopoly Transforms

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My how our search world is changing, or maybe it MSN't. In the last two weeks, Google, Yahoo, and MSN have been going at it like cats and dogs in the press. First, everyone wanted to know what a Yahoo/MSN merger would look like. Later, everyone wanted to know what would happen if Google and Yahoo combined forces.

And then the fit hit the shan.

Yahoo is standing firm against Microsoft's offer. Primarily, it seems, because Microsoft's offer wasn't big enough. Yahoo's statement included the words "significantly undervalues Yahoo," though the offer had been carefully reviewed. While Yahoo reviews, Google jockeys for a position and Microsoft's stock adjusts, the rest of the world waits for a transformation and wonders, is there more than meets the eye?

Cybertrauma

Yahoo's strong presence around the world is seconded only by its presence in the world of online advertising. While Google is much stronger than Yahoo elsewhere, as I mentioned last week, Yahoo is still stronger than Google in the e-mail world and the combined assets of Microsoft and Yahoo far exceed that of Google in the Internet world.

Yahoo couldn't possibly accept the first offer that came rolling in; partially because of its revenue potential, but also due its strength around the world. Google dominates the search market in the United States and most of the European Union, but the rest of the world is up for grabs.

Both Yahoo and Google are struggling to get their arms around what's happening in China. Google announced last week an aggressive free music play. Yahoo has invested in China's number one search site, Baidu, yet neither company has gained significant ground. In other words, it's still anyone's game in developing Internet nations.

Optimus Monopoly

When the Microsoft bid for Yahoo was announced, Yahoo appeared to be standing alone. Shortly after the announcement came, Google appeared to becoming to Yahoo's aid against a hostile takeover.

Much of the hype surrounding the three tech powerhouses coming together in the United States centers around a monopoly discussion.

The question is, which company has a monopoly? Is it possible to have a monopoly in the digital world? Sure, Microsoft owns the operating system world, but this issue (as far as the federal government is concerned) has been addressed.

One could argue that Google has a monopoly in search, particularly if one were to dissect the world, country by country. Yet, the inherently unstable and dynamic nature of content on the Web and the constant ebb and flow of site popularity would lead us to believe that a monopoly is impossible or impractical, in the short term.

Megatronic Impulses

We have yet to discuss the impact of mobile and social media. None of the search sites (and arguably anyone else) have really figured out monetizing social media advertising, much less how to measure it.

The mobile battleground continues to get more exciting by the day. In one corner, Google and the Android. In the other, Microsoft and Monday's acquisition of mobile application and browsing company, Danger.

Perhaps if Michael Bay were responsible for making the Yahoo/Google/Microsoft battle movie, there would be a series of high-definition computer-generated search bot battle scenes. Since the movie is still a few years out, we'll have to settle for the ongoing battle for mindshare and world domination on our small screens.

Join us for SES London February 19-21 and for training classes on February 22.


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