Raphael Fogel, who always writes with taste but doesn’t write too often, comments on the up and coming takeover: “The right step for Yahoo!, Microsoft, Facebook and all the rest is to waive Google’s spider, which rides their content and sucks their income, and coerce Google to share them in its future development of products. “It’s time to stop making money on our expense”, the market will say to google, “Speaking of open standards is good for a world where all of us share the revenues or to an ideal world of open source, but now we are united, we have the users, come and show us what you can bring for our package.”.”
Img CC-BY Peasap
Will Microsoft and Yahoo! be able to take the same step taken by Facebook and just block Google in order to kill the competition? This sound like a great fantasy for the Redmond giant, now that it is trying to take over Yahoo! in an offer that may have insulted Yahoo!’s shareholders.
A fight has already started on who will examine this merger or takeover, TheRegister reports that the FTC and the DoJ are still not certain who will examine the purchase; While the FTC is set to examine implications on the advertising market, the DoJ may have to examine antitrust implications, and this is all before the European Union had said its words. This purchase may be problematic since the first test would be whether the consumer will be hurt by the decrease in competition in the email, instant messaging, photo sharing and search market; meaning that the question would be whether Overture which sold search results and was purchased by Yahoo! may still bring better results than Google.
But that’s not the only question. Would Microsoft be allowed to block Google’s crawlers and spiders from accessing its websites now that it controls a major share of the internet? as long as it controls its websites, it is the one with the right to index it. Think about the browser wars during the 1990s, where Microsoft’s bundling made her go into major antitrust investigations and even a Billion Dollar lawsuit from Netscape ending in a 750 Million Dollar settlement for killing Netscape.
The next browser war is the war for the search itself. The non-kosher, but quick way, where Microsoft could win is to purchase as many user generated content websites as possible and block Google’s crawler. Most likely that this may work, as previous lawsuits asking crawlers to withhold indexing sites were filed, including Perfect10′s many attempts to claim that indexing itself is a copyright violation. Microsoft can, if it purchases most of the relevant content, to prohibit Google from Indexing. Unfair dealing is just a small issue here.
Think of a situation where Googling somethting may not give an accurate result on thge web: Flickr, WordPress.com, Yahoo!Finance and even MySpace may not be indexed just to kill the competition. The same action will paralyse the search giant and create, on the same infrastructure, two completely different internets. This is a gloomy prophecy, which most likely will not happen, but if it will, it may kill the search giant within a few months.
In a few weeks, should Microsoft wish, Google may find itself as the next Netscape. Google does not create content, only indexes it. And when the indexed sites fight, it won’t be able to fight back.