On Friday, software giant Microsoft offered $44.6 billion dollars to buy enough stock to take control of Yahoo! in an effort to better compete with internet giant Google.
This makes me uneasy.
A Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo would remove a major player in the internet landscape, merging it into the ever spreading software company. This is just plain bad for us–the consumers. We benefit from Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo competing for our attention. As one company innovates, it pushes the others to adapt. And we get better services. Microsoft taking out Yahoo would lead one less reason for Microsoft and Google to develop better technology for its customers. We lose.
And why is Microsoft even trying to compete with Google? Microsoft is a software company at heart, not an advertising company like Google. They aren’t in direct competition. Microsoft’s recent foray into web search and advertising services can be considered as a hobby…at best. They can boast control of about 7% of the internet search market share. Google holds 65%. Microsoft should instead focus on what they do best–software.
Microsoft has had huge successes with its Windows operating system and its Office suite. They should stick to them. Microsoft keeps distracting itself with so many of these projects, resulting in a noticeable decline in quality in the rest of Microsoft’s products. Microsoft’s latest Windows Vista operating system, its main revenue source, is a blatant example. As Vista fails to satisfy customers due to its poor quality, Apple’s OS X and even Linux gain market share, chipping away at Microsoft’s iron grip on the operating system industry.
Microsoft acquiring Yahoo would not only create an increasingly monopolistic internet, but it would cause a thinly stretched Microsoft to deliver increasingly sub-par software to its customers. Microsoft acquiring Yahoo would not be bad new for Google, it would be bad news for us–the customers.