Microsoft, Yahoo, and Internet Breakage

By Justin McOmie at 11:58 pm on March 16, 2008 | 1 Comment

In a recent interview with “Condé Nast Portfolio”, Google CEO Eric Schmidt warns us all that a Microsoft-Yahoo merger might “break the internet” due to the consolidation of web-mail, instant messaging, and other services that would follow as a result. This relates to a still on the table 40+ billion dollar offer that Microsoft has proposed to Yahoo. While the deal is not cemented yet, representatives for the respective companies have reportedly had frequent rendezvous at Mayflower conference rooms to “feel things out” before big money exchanges hands.

The big issue at hand is the oncoming breaking of the Internet, which clearly has broad reaching implications, particularly for Google. The search giant has bet its entire business model on the premise that the Internet be categorically unbroken, at least most of the time, and has a vested interest in ensuring the continued heartbeat of the web. This is in contrast with Microsoft, which could deal with an Internet breakage without all that much worry for its bottom line. This fact should alarm anyone with perceptive eyes; perhaps “breaking the Internet” is the first gunshot in a drawn out war of attrition Microsoft has planned.

According to Schmidt, Microsoft’s previous antitrust trial was about breaking interoperable open systems. Thus, we should all be wondering what level of nefariousness currently runs through Microsoft’s veins that it would embark on a conquest to contort the consolidation of Yahoo’s web offerings in someway as to weaponize open systems into a torrent of Internet pain and disruptiveness. One can only grimace at the proverbial ring of power Microsoft will be able to wield when it is able commit such acts as merging its MSN messenger userbase with that of the wildly popular Yahoo Messenger.

The Internet using public should assess the risk for Internet breakage and policy makers should react accordingly. But we should also keep in mind that if a Microsoft Yahoo merger could break the Internet, smaller deals might lead to some sort of fractures or cracks in the Internet. For example, Microsoft recently invested several hundred million dollars into Facebook, which caused observable tremors in the Internet’s various tubes. Caveat emptor.


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    Comment by Jessica

    March 17, 2008 @ 8:33 am

    What does “breaking the Internet” mean? And how could Microsoft possibly “break” the Internet? Email and messenger are merely applications that use the Internet infrastructure and in no way could the consolidation of these cause the downfall of the Internet. I highly doubt that there will be any change in the branding of Yahoo mail or messenger. Everything will probably look identical to the end user. Besides that, Google has plenty of email and messenger market share and thus nothing to worry about. Microsoft is merely trying to get into the search game.
    The Internet is a network of computers connected by telephone line, ethernet and satellite. Do you really think that a merger with Yahoo would cause all these lines to be cut and satellites to fall out of the sky such that the Internet would be rendered “broken”. No. Google is just paranoid and doesn’t want to face even the slightest similitude of competition in their search dynasty.

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