Google’s concerned that Microsoft could poison Yahoo and make it less open, a state of affairs Google feels created both Yahoo and Google. I’m sympathetic to some degree to their points, though I think Google has more than enough internet opacity in their critical search ranking practices to make me skeptical of all the whining about how Microsoft won’t play fair and keep things “open”.
Google has been more open than most, but far less responsive to ranking problems and search issues than they should be. To the extent MS + Yahoo brings more competition to the space it might help Google see the light and practice more of what they preach about transparency. Just a quick example of the lack of transparency – Google does not share with publishers the “revenue share” percentage for your own site. This would be a totally unacceptable practice offline, but in Google land it’s just another example of the power of a virtual monopoly on search monetization.
Meanwhile, Henry Blodget has some great advice for Yang and Balmer, but it’s clear to me that neither party will view things this broadly. I think there is only small difference in the IT worldview of management at Yahoo and Google, but a world of difference with MS. As a shareholder I’m loving the Google overture to Yahoo which should boost the share price even more. This is a fascinating situation because Google has been happy to watch Yahoo whither on the search vine. Now Google needs to consider a powerful partnership as a defensive attack on the Microsoft search potential after an aquisition. I think this in part relates to a key factor that is underreported: Yahoo’s search quality is now comparable to Google’s according to many objective measures.