Microsoft/Yahoo(Search) - A Closed Internet?

by Sachin Balagopalan on May 20, 2008 · 1 comment

Robert “Scobleizer” Scoble is one of the few so called A-list bloggers I pay close attention to along with the likes of Om “GigaOm” Malik, Michael Parekh (when he doesn’t stray away from technology related posts) and a few others. These guys usually have their finger on the pulse so to speak when it comes to the latest and greatest in the tech world. Having said that Scoble has a post today outlining his opinion on Microsoft’s “real” intent or strategy vis a vis Yahoo’s search business - which IMO is a little far fetched if I dare say so.

I’m hearing these rumors too that John Furrier (my ex-boss) is reporting. That Microsoft will buy Yahoo’s search and then buy Facebook for $15 to $20 billion. Add that to all the news that Microsoft is buying Yahoo’s search and that gets very interesting.

That just changed the whole argument of Facebook vs. Google to one of Microsoft vs. the Web.

Think about this just a second.

This has created HUGE value for Microsoft and has handed Steve Ballmer an Internet strategy which brings Microsoft from last place to first in less than a week.


Now Microsoft/Yahoo search will have access to HUGE SWATHS of Internet info that Google will NOT have access to.

Data and social graph portability is dead on arrival.

Microsoft just bought itself a search strategy that sure looks like a winner to me.

If all this is true there is no way in hell that Facebook will open up now.

It’s Facebook and Microsoft vs. the open public Web.

Scoble’s theory is interesting but I think he’s overlooking one fundamental point and that is the assumption that Facebook will continue to be this huge repository for all sorts of relevant search able data. I mean lets face it (no pun intended :) ) Facebook has so far been a U.S. phenomenon only albeit they are now trying to localize and have an impact on non-US locales as well. India, China and most of South America are on the Orkut bandwagon and Bebo is huge in the UK, EMEA and ANZ. If the internet was confined to the U.S I’d be inclined to agree with him but we know that’s not the case.

The other point I’d like to make is that the mindset for developing software has evolved along with technology as a whole. I don’t think developers are going to tolerate a “closed” environment like they did during the eighties and nineties. Should Microsoft’s “buy enough and keep it closed” strategy actually come into fruition you’re going to see a gazillion FriendFeed (as Scoble rightly points out in his post) lookalikes pop up all over the place embracing open standards. They’re not going to give Microsoft a chance to even compete.

IMO Microsoft is playing catch up for not adapting or embracing the internet in the early days. Their “DNA” has always been packaged software and client server technology and the fundamental mistake Bill Gates & Co made during the nineties was not believing in the internet and switching directions and strategy when they could have long before Google and even Yahoo came on the scene.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Soldado 05.20.08 at 9:16 pm

Nice article man!

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