back to article Microsoft questions Google's plan to save the world through ads

Yes, Microsoft turned up at today's dueling Congressional hearings on the Google ad pact with Yahoo!. Redmond senior vice president and general counsel Brad Smith told both the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust and the House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Task Force that Goo-Hoo! is one bad idea. "The effect …


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  1. Bryce Prewitt

    Much ado about nothing.

    Who gives a flying fuck about monopolizing search ads? Oh no! God forbid all the world's sponsored links come from one company! Wherever from will I get my fair, balanced, innovative and low-priced advertising now?! God damnit, get me some honest advertisers, folks just out to make a buck and bring home the bacon, you know, some used car salesmen from Dallas, or maybe drug dealers, I don't care, anyone but Google!

    When you gits get stuck on something you really won't be tossed off until the horse is dead and beaten... and that's why I love you.

  2. Trevor Pott Gold badge

    Well, I might as well get my but in.

    This article will inevitably, like all such articles, become covered in a sea of "oh my god, Microsoft would ruin Yahoo! This can't be allowed, Microsoft is evil!!11!1oneone"

    And for this I'd like to speak my bit out and against those people: please, for the love of whatever deity you hold dear, (or your own sweet selves if that's all you believe in,) shut the hell up about it.

    YES, Microsoft would tear Yahoo! to shreds, rip out the good bits, and leave it's whimpering carcass to molder on the floor to be eaten by whatever scavengers happen to be interested in the remains. I hate to tell you this, but that's irrelevant. No matter how much you love or hate Google, Yahoo! or Microsoft, or any combination thereof...Yahoo! is supper for someone. Yahoo! has a few good services, a reasonable search engine, and, most importantly some very decent human capital. What it doesn't have is the market share, chutzpah, money, alliances, or 'critical app' to go up against Google and even survive over the long term. At the moment, nobody really does.

    The sole exception *might* be Microsoft. Microsoft has an enormous cash reserve, and a few remaining Monopolies in areas that won't be monopolies for it very soon. It's old, and looking to change, to diversify it's income in order to survive. Regardless of it's past actions, and what you, me, or bob down the street things of it, Microsoft's impressive resources are the only real chance to form a competitor to Google.

    That I say "chance to form a competitor to Google" is important. At the moment, apparently even Microsoft can't buy what it needs to truly begin to compete, and that should set of a few warning bells for anyone capable of thinking past their Google fanboyism. If, by some exceptional chance, Microsoft manages to absorb Yahoo!'s better bits, and all their best people, and if they manage to get enough other significant little R&D companies, new technologies, and form the right strategic business partnerships, Microsoft may be capable of competing against Google.

    Now, my rant will go down poorly in most sectors, because far too many people see Google as some sort of angelic internet savior, and Microsoft as the dinosaur-like devil hanging onto the past...but the truth is that if Microsoft doesn't find a way to compete with Google, Google will become the next Microsoft. We'll have another 20 years of a single company dominating the software landscape, and just as everyone eventually grew to hate the greed, lack of respect for customers, lock-ins and other tricks Microsoft played, I guarantee you Google will resort to the same, as soon as it feels it can.

    This can really only play out one of two ways: Microsoft can go from being in a position of almost unquestionable dominance to becoming a shadow of itself struggling to survive. Microsoft could alternately go from that same position to something a bit more IBM: one of three or four really major players in its field. Not what it once was, but AMD to potential software Intel, either.

    I ask you, Reg readers, what would you rather? Would you, if given the choice, have Google become the only real player in the software field, controlling not only the programs you use, but storing all your data and information in its cloud? Or would you rather that a there be enough competition to keep them innovating, if not honest?

    You might not like Microsoft, gods know I have my problems with them, but face reality people: Yahoo is already dinner. Who would you rather have dining?

    I apologize to those my rant may have offended, but reading enough "Microsoft is evil, yay the Googleness" comments in these reader sections makes me want to beat the incredibly shortsighted Google acolytes (Googleites?) to death with an Apple Fanboy.

  3. Herby

    Maybe Microsoft and Google can agree...

    Microsoft will break up its OS dominance, and Google will break up its AD dominance. Fair is fair, you know.

    Oh, and if that goes through, I have some swampland in Florida/New Jersey to sell. Cheap!

  4. Charles Manning
    Thumb Up

    One is better in search

    Who wants to hit 5 search engines to find what you want? Nobody!

    From a search user perspective, one vast search provider is far better than many smaller ones. There is only one real provider and that is Google. All the others are losing share and only have a presence due to other portal activities or because they sell software preconfigured to hit other search engines.

    For a click ad buyer (ie a vendor), one player also makes a lot of sense. I'd rather buy click ads from just google than try buy them from multiple vendors. It does not help to have "me too" providers who are not getting any real traffic.

    Sure, as Google builds a dominance they might lift ad prices. So what. There is still healthy competition from other advertising channels: print media, billboards, TV slots etc. That prevents Google excessive gouging.

  5. Nomen Publicus
    Jobs Halo

    Poor Microsoft

    You have to feel bad for Microsoft - $40 billion in the bank and it seems they cannot do anything with it.

  6. Jaded CTO

    @ Mr. Manning

    What a crock.. if advertising, internet or otherwise was controlled by a single vendor it would affect everyone (except that vendor) negatively.

    Whilst its tempting to believe that rationalisation of supply == standardisation, that just not true.

    Internet advertising is becoming more mainstream, but for the big traditional advertisers and advertising/agency groups it's stil a shiny new toy. Every big Fortune500 of FTSE 100 Co has plans to increase its spend in digital advertisng. This will primarily be at the expense of TV or traditional print media.

    Regardless of the media vendor (in this case Google), standards will emerge, just as they have in the TV and (to a lesser degree) print advertising sectors, this will happen with or without the big G's dominance.

    As for the healthy competition from print and TV, there's already a significant blurring of broadacast and internet video as your good old iplayer and anytime type offerings grow in scope and popularilty.

    The problem with TV is in the production costs vs. penetration.

    With so many TV and other media channels absorbing our time and attention the circa. 200k it takes to make a decent TV ad just isn't as effective as it once was. Rember the days when you had four channels and half the population tuned in to watch Emerdale on a thursday at 8pm? Thats why we see so much badly dubbed recycling of international TV ads and so few well produced orignal TV ads.. I digress..

    Print media is also in decline as paper based magazines and newspaper gets replaced by websites and community type guff.

    Basically once the big advertisers figure out how adservers work and how much more flexible their advertising can be online (personlisation, specific offers/products etc.), their spend in this area can only increase.

    With one big company controlling access (effectively through search) and advertising you can begin to forget about non-biased search results.. what you find will be the products and services google want you to find.

    Anyhow enough barely coherent rambling.. suffice it to say - any increase in Google dominance isn't anything i'm looking forward to.

  7. ChrisInBelgium
    Paris Hilton


    It bites doesn't it Microsoft, when the monopolistic boot is on someone else's foot?

    Suck it up. It's what we get from you all the time.

    Paris because she too doesn't understand how other people can act like spoiled brats...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Trevor Pott

    I would rather have Microsoft die off and Google dominating. Why? Because at the end of the day it is my choice as to whether I use Google products or not.

    Search - I can use someone elses.

    Ads - I block them.

    Online office products - A stupid idea and too limiting. I avoid them.

    eMail - I prefer downloading to a dedicated email program. Not interested in roaming email.

    Online storage - You must be joking! Only local storage for me. Something that I control.

    I don't really have the same with Microsofts stuff. It is forced down my throat at work because people stupidly believe that is what we need. They think it is a business standard.

    Google may have abused a little of its position but it is a long long way from being compared to Microsoft. Microsoft acted like pure scum in their determination to make money. Still they continue to produce crap for high prices but slowly people are starting to realise this and are moving away.

  9. Andraž Levstik

    Screw the lot...

    Who cares about ads... I block them and I'm guessing anyone a bit more tech savvy does so as well...

    As for google... Screw them... they are the biggest data mining project in the world and nobody can touch them. I'm guessing they have more dirt on most people than most intelligence agencies have on

    only a few people. Centralised search engines need to die already...

    As the net gets bigger and bigger a central search engine will get less and less usefull since there's way to much data to index. Bring on the more powerfull semi-AI capable boxes that one could launch a dedicated AI search droid to find info for you... And actually make that data count for something... Not just piles and piles of the same sites/same articles/same blog links over and over and over...

  10. Mark

    @Trevor Potts

    Since you don't know what the direction of Yahoo! is, your statement is irrelevant.

    You don't know what the hell is going on.

    If you want to take short term changes as indicative of where things are going, why not shred Microsoft? After all the Office and OS aren't bringing in the bacon any more. Vista is tanking big time and they are stopping selling XP along with ODF making Office suites a commodity (and therefore not worth $500RRP). So MS should be shredded in order to ensure someone gets the good bits.

    NOTE: I don't have shares in nor do I use Yahoo! it's just that you don't know what's going on in a company and so you can't go telling them how to run it.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    @Charles Manning

    "Sure, as Google builds a dominance they might lift ad prices."

    You haven't been following the story. They have price gouged (and do so thousands of times a day) and will continue to. They own the market.

    "There is still healthy competition from other advertising channels: print media, billboards, TV slots etc. "

    All different advertising markets. A Ford or General Motors may have this choice, but the rest of us do not.

    Just say you're happy being ripped off. Google needs more people like you!

  12. Kit Temple

    Google dominating ads

    Even if Google controls all search ads - that doesn't mean they control all internet advertising. I run a niche website where we sell our banner advertising directly to our customers - and I'm sure there are millions of sites out there who also sell ads direct.

    If I stick Google bars instead of our own advertising, our advertising revenue would drop 10-fold. If Google get a monopoly position and their external website ad network rates become terrible for the website owners - is it so hard for 100 advertising companies to suddenly spring up talking to websites and convincing them to swap their Google ad bars for their webbars to get more revenue.

    The internet allows for a vast array of websites aimed at specific topics - and where you have specific topics you can have not-too-hard direct sales to the people who want to hit that special target audience.

  13. Ondrej Doubek

    ever vlooked beyond that "add thing"?

    Maybe it is time to look a bit further down the road Google is on?

    While MS is a threat to free trade, and Yes, they did some damage there, Google is a potential threat to democracy.

    Being a threat to democracy and freedom does not require a totalistic attitude- the threat starts much earlier...

    It is enough if any given body, be it governmental, commercial, military or private, starts building the tools and gathering the power that enables it to gain control over the foundations of democracy .

    Democracy is not about the right to vote yaddayadda. Most totalistic regimes are mocking many of the procedures simpler people think make a democracy.

    Democracy and personal freedom are based on free access to information and freedom of speech. All other traits of democracy are a a direct result of these.

    So here is the price question: Who has the power to control what information You will find on the internet for any given topic? Who has the power to control who will hear what You have to say if You want to share it online?

    I am aware that Google in a way helped the internet to make a "quantum leap", and that way enhanced the availability of information significantly. But this pattern isn't new, either. Totalistic governments are always first doing good to the people to gain their trust before they close down the borders and take over the new agencies.

    I guess it needs the sensibilization of living in an region (not just nation!) with a fascist or totalistic past, and not be be blinded by economic security, to see the early signs. All through history those have never been seen by the masses before it was too late- although they were written all over the walls (often even in blood...)

    Any one making an effort reading up on the history of countries with a fascist or totalistic past will see the same pattern over and over. Then stepping back, forgetting daily small-business, and taking an open look on our worlds situation might result in shock for many.

    I don't believe in global conspiracy and similar stupidities at all, so if I caught You on that foot You unfortunately got me all wrong...

    I also don't mean to dispense any accusations, just pointing out a _potential_ for wrongdoing on a scale we will have no means tomprotect ourselves against...

    Power will always be where the money and the information is. And too much power in one place has never done good, is all I say.

    Concentrating power is a direct contradiction to democracy as defined.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Google are Evil

    Ok, Microsoft don't own a cute bunny farm from where they hand out Christmas presents to all the world's children. They are also pretty Evil, but against Google, Microsoft are Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy all rolled in to one. Don't forget that Google have files on everyone that are more detailed than your average CIA dossier. Every search you have ever done on Google is cross referenced to your entire e-mail history, and again cross-referenced to all the movies you've watched on youtube, and again referenced to every ad you've clicked through. They want every document you ever write to be stored in Google land, and they want information on every minute you spend writing them. Whether it's your company balance sheet, or a suicide note.

    This is the sort of information which intelligence agencies would kill for. If you draw a scale of the world's most evil companies, Google are pretty near the top of the list, and certainly a lot higher than Microsoft.

  15. James Pickett
    Gates Horns

    @Trevor Pott

    "Google will become the next Microsoft"

    Funny - I don't remember MS providing free anything (unless it was designed to ruin somebody else) or pledging not to do evil...

  16. NB
    Paris Hilton


    "The effect of this agreement would be to further entrench the control of the dominant supplier of search advertising and, in the process, reduce choice and innovation and increase prices," - Brad Smith

    oh dear, oh dear, entrenching the control of a monopolist is bad thing? This coming from Microsoft?!

    In other news, the sky is falling. Please watch out for Satan ice skating to work.

    Paris cos I wouldn't mind getting entrenched in her.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The solution would be for Microsoft to surrender its operating system monopoly (well, actually the OEM and customer lock-in that is the foundation) ; then they are welcome to buy Yahoo so that Google doesn't have a monopoly. How's that for a plan? (just let's not hold our breath waiting!)

  18. Trevor Pott Gold badge

    @James Pickett

    Funny, I don't remember Google giving anything away for free that wasn't designed to kill someone else in a given market either. I can think of plenty of things Microsoft gives away for free, every single one of which, of course was designed to help them sell something else. It's a corporation. Making money is what it is supposed to do.

    Google gives away free e-mail? G-talk? Google earth? Microsoft gives away plenty too, things you most likely simply take for granted, or will say are "irrelevant" because you don't happen to like their offerings. Internet explorer, MSN, Microsoft has a maps service too I think...hell, even the .net framework! There are enough applications that MS gives away for free that it could take me all day just to remember them.

    Do I like them? No, in fact, I tend to use alternatives. That doesn't mean I don't recognize their value. Microsoft might provide a cheap imitation of some products, (Silverlight to adobe's flash,) but it's enough to drive costs down for the competitor. If Microsoft had never developed Internet explorer, what do you think we'd be paying for every copy of Netscape now? Because we would be, and it would probably be the only browser out there. There are innumerable other examples of how this horrible little company has inadvertently helped the customer more than it has harmed us.

    Microsoft has a (fading) Operating system monopoly. It also has a (fading) Office Package monopoly. That's about it. In almost every other market it plays in there are either valid contender with real backing, or, it is the upstart punk struggling against the entrenched monopoly.

    Like it or not, in a great many areas, Microsoft's competition has lowered the price of software (and even hardware, in the keyboard/mouse or console gaming field, for example,) for everyone.

    I'm no Microsoft fanboy, (for the record, I like my XP as a desktop OS due to laziness and familiarity, and I don't mind Active Directoy, but I loves me my linux for everything else, and am very much getting on the Solaris bandwagon,) but I do recognize that despite Google's flowery marketing, and the tripe they feed to the gullible...

    ...they too are a corporation. A public one, as I recall, just like Microsoft. With a legal obligation to their shareholders to maximize profits. Google's business model is different than Microsoft's. They don't (currently) rely on licensing software outright. Instead, they rely on keeping you, and more importantly all your lovely data locked into their private network, so they can scan it, and manipulate it, and churn out advertising. That's a great short term plan, because they can give away plenty of free stuff and earn good will.

    Once they effectively own the internet, all the software and data on it, they can, and in fact will be legally obligated to monetize every last iota of that, by charging as much as they feel they can get away with.

    Google isn't a benevolent fluffy bunny and rainbow factory. It is a soul-sucking corporation just like the rest of them.

    I will acknowledge however, it is run by far more likeable, socially capable, and public-relations aware geeks than almost any other IT company out there. They smile, and laugh, mix and mingle, and make everyone love them. It is so very, very easy to forget why they exist, and what their purpose in life is. (To pull every last cent out of you they possibly can.)

    Which is why they are so ****ing terrifying.

    To those who think this is only about Google becoming an advertising Monopolist: it's not. In order for Google to reach that status that it so desires, it first needs to lock you in to it's software for everything you do on the computer. It has a long way to go, and many competitors to kill before then, but the ultimate goal is now clear: it wants you to use Google <product name> Beta for everything you do in life, from business to personal. It wants you to store your information in it's cloud, and it wants to index everything you view, store, search, send, receive, watch and vote on. It wants to know your likes, your dislikes who you know, what you think of them, everything it can.

    The ultimate goal of Google is to have a complete, accurate psychological profile of every single person on earth with enough money to use the internet, so that it can completely and utterly dominate advertising in a way that no other medium ever approached.

    And while it's at it, once you and I, and everyone else is dependant upon it's services for everything, it will start charging for them, small amounts at first, but ever more with time, because it has no competition, and that share price has to go up.

    You can choose not to believe this, but time will tell the tale, and 20 years from now, we shall see what we shall see...

    Penguin, becuase it's off to buildinng more Apache VMs for me!

  19. Charles Manning

    @@Charles Manning

    Nobody has refuted my point that from a user perspective one search engine is far better than many small ones.

    As for the issue on advertising. Well maybe advertisers will get their low cost/high penetration advertising feed cut off. Perhaps they will have to pay more. Ultimately at some point there is a choice that companies can make. When people stop buying advertising the prices will stabilise, just as it has done in print media, television, product placements etc.

    I say so what! Why should I care if advertising is adversely effected? For the most part, advertising is brainwashing: "Coke is life"... yeah right! It is a mix of Co2, sugar, caffeine and other crap which are not condusive to life.

    If the advertising industry is dealt a setback I'm all for it!

  20. Graham Lockley

    @Trevor Pott


    Nothing more needs to be said.

  21. Goat Jam


    One thing I've always wondered about is why the Tobacco companies haven't jumped on the internet bandwagon? After all, they have been barred from advertising on just about every other medium available, it seems to me that the Wild West that is the internet is the perfect place to peddle their "product". Yet I have yet to see an ad for a tobacco product on the net.


  22. Luke

    @Trevor Pott

    I agree.

    It is far better for most of us to have Microsoft and Google trying to out-shine each other in a technological cold war than another period of one giant company destroying everything in its path. Competition is always good. For me, I just want as many options as possible so I can at least pick and choose.

    I have no major issues for or against Microsoft or Google. But it should be made clear to all the people for whom MS = bad and Google = good that Google give things away for free so as to sell advertising, collect your personal information and to destroy competiton - simple as that. That is just how their business model works, and it works well. Big companies are all big and evil, that is life.Times have changed though and Microsoft are finally trying catch up.

  23. Robert Harrison

    @Trevor Pott

    Well said.

    And to add insult to injury, Google are of course based in the States so whilst they are happily sat there in front of the screen pillaging and plundering our data to generate ads, the American government can look over their shoulder. There's a good patriot, lad.

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