Back to work and back come the big search deals

Rodney Gedda

Rodney Gedda is the former deputy editor of CIO and former editor of Techworld.

I’m back in the office after a Winter break only to be greeted with a new search deal between Microsoft and Yahoo! Let the antitrust claims roll… Within a day of the announcement – speculated to be the remnants of Microsoft’s failed takeover attempt last year – Google piped up and said the deal might “hurt competition”.

To a certain extent the claims are valid – particularly considering Microsoft’s existing PC dominance – but it’s not the first time such big search deals have formed, and floundered.

Google and Yahoo! have entered into search agreements in the past, and at one point, back in 2000, Yahoo! even used Google’s search as its default search engine provider (see the Google press release).

That deal died out a few years later and since Google’s rise to monopolistic proportions both Yahoo! and Microsoft have both struggled to garner people’s search mindset.

Sure Bing has proven to be popular since its high-profile launch a couple of months ago, but that’s no indication it will gain any real traction in the search market.

So cries of antitrust may be a little premature when the two companies in second and third place can manage more than a sustained 15 (or even 20) per cent of the total market.

If it was a case of say, Cisco buying Juniper, then it would be a very different story.

That said, here at TechWorld we stick up for consumers and love competition.

IT vendor consolidation is rarely a “good” thing for consumers, so while we don’t cry antitrust just yet, it’s not as welcome news as say a brand new search engine backed by a large IT vendor independent of the others.

But, like Google’s attempt before it, Microsoft’s deal with Yahoo! may only be temporary.

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