Irrational exuberance in the dot com shopping aisles?
No, it’s a chess game and Google’s winning….again.
I’m really starting to understand what seems like irrational exuberance on the part of Google and the major players. A Google aquisition of Facebook would be consistent with what Robert Scoble suggested is happening: Google is building a moat around it’s advertising business.
Steve Ballmer also suggested this notion in his recent BusinessWeek interview, ironically fretting that Google could monopolize the media business. Yikes, Steve would really run out of chairs then?
I can almost hear Ballmer to Schmidt:
“Hey Cowboy, there’s only enough room in this here internet for ONE monopoly you, you, you dirty monopolistic sonofabitch BASTARDS!”
Schmidt to Ballmer:
“HEY! DROP that chair and step AWAY from the Vista Browser!”
Google, with tons of cash to burn and a staggering market cap, has far less to lose in the high stakes internet poker game than Yahoo, Ebay, or even Microsoft. Microsoft is bigger than Google and theoretically richer, but unlike Google Microsoft has yet to figure out good ways to monetize their (improving) search services and (not improving) content services.
Ballmer’s juggling how to preserve his big ticket MS Office and Vista projects. Yahoo’s worried about plunging valuations and people leaving and the fact that a billion represents a lot more to them than it does to Google. This is almost certainly complicating the Yahoo Facebook negotiations right now. Ebay’s pretty fat and happy where they are. Meanwhile, Google can focus in laser-like fashion on keeping Google in the driver’s seat with it’s superb contextual advertising monetization.
The best defense is a good offense, so they are buying up properties to increase their control over the advertising space and keep those hundreds of millions of eyeballs out of the hands of MS and Yahoo.
Will this work? I say probably not for similar reasons it was stupid for Yahoo to buy Broadcast.com years ago. Video is junky and won’t monetize well. It’ll be more of an encumbrance to Google’s core competencies than an asset. But … things change, and in the meantime it’s fun to watch this high stakes game of chess unfold.
It’s a show you won’t see on YouTube.