Reading the news that Microsoft might be buying Yahoo's search advertising business, Google execs must be having a very fine morning. Microsoft appears ready to hand them a "get out of anti-trust, free" card. What's not to like?
But, with Google appearing to be running scared of regulators, why should Microsoft give them an easy way out? Maybe Microsoft, an expert on monopoly law, thinks a case against Google wouldn't go anywhere.
If so, maybe, maybe a deal makes sense. But, I still really can't see it.
Pre-Bing, I was all for some sort of Microsoft/Yahoo deal. Not anymore and not just because of Bing. Yet, Bing demonstrates some cluefulness on Microsoft's part and Google's falling per-click revenue makes me wonder whether Microsoft will end up paying too much for Yahoo's search ad business.
I'd love to show you all sorts of numbers and projections to support this gut reaction, but Yahoo is simply a fading star. By propping Yahoo up, Microsoft may simply be saving a competitor the marketplace is rejecting.
It will be easier to play the Googleopoly card with Yahoo out-competed and Microsoft less than an also-ran. Why combine Microsoft and Yahoo's search ad businesses and look like a competitor when you really aren't?
I'd rather see Microsoft play Bing really hard and come back for Yahoo when it can get a better price and perhaps has more to bring to the marriage. At this point, it is better to wait and see if Google doesn't slide on its own or ends up getting a push from regulators.