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A full weekend has passed since Larry Page made the last of what was assumed to be three major speeches from the heads of the three major search engines at the 2006 CES convention in Las Vegas. Page’s lackluster announcements on Google Pack and Google Video followed similar underwhelming performances by Yahoo’s Terry Semel and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Perhaps expectations had been placed too high by the press. Scheduled fresh on the heels of the Christmas-New Year’s slump, commentators and observers wrote highly speculative pieces, mostly about Google. By Friday afternoon however, what might have been, simply was not. Read more…

Bill Gates opened the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last night calling this the decade of the digital lifestyle and workstyle. While his keynote speech only touched on search in general terms, he played down the threat of Google in an earlier interview and noted IBM as Microsoft’s chief competitor. Read more…

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Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Yahoo and MSN Speculation

The year opened with two major items regarding Yahoo. The first involves Microsoft, the second, MTV.

The LATimes, yes, the same publication that made a false start on rumours of Google computers, is reporting that Microsoft made an offer to buy Yahoo for $80 – $90 Billion. This is another thing that probably never happened. While highly unlikely, the rumour does shed light on a particular problem Yahoo and Microsoft both share, they want the same things but a common threat stands in the way, Google.

Yahoo is trying to become the primary online entertainment provider, a meta-network surpassing satellite broadcasting in range and choice. Yahoo is rumoured to be interested in buying Viacom, owner of MTV and a number of other mainstream media content creators. Along with their partnerships with music labels, other TV networks, and movie distributors, the purchase of Viacom would put Yahoo far beyond Google and Microsoft in the field of digital home entertainment.

Microsoft wants to continue to be the biggest thing ever and to do that; it needs to remain the operating system of choice in a rapidly changing world. To stay #1 means providing consumers with what they need, something both Google and Yahoo are almost but not quite capable of doing on their own.

The obvious piece of speculation, aside from the erroneous assumption they might buy Yahoo is an offer to partner up with Barry Diller at Ask Jeeves. On their own, Diller’s IAC has not yet capitalized on the potential of the fourth most popular search engine, MSN’s adCenter might have the technology and clout they need to even hope to compete against Google.

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Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Year Opens with Google Speculation

It all starts with a rumour. Someone said something to someone else and that someone told another person and before you can say, “cheese-doodle”, a wrong-story rumour grows out of control as speculation spreads it far and wide. Each retelling of the story adds another dimension, based on the teller’s assumptions and perspective. An interesting phenomenon has played out in the search engine press over the past two days, as a non-story about something Google is not doing grew into the imminent death of Microsoft almost overnight. Read more…

It is that time of year again. Between the extra helpings of turkey soup and sandwiches, writers of every stripe are making lists of predictions for the coming twelve months. Last year, we got just over half our predictions correct. This year we hope to do as well or better but in an industry as dynamic and rapidly changing as the world of search, we couldn’t expect to hit a home run on every prediction. The only thing that is certain is the idea 2006 will be as or more interesting than 2005. Read more…

Jim is enroute for his Christmas vacation and I thought this news I came across was worth a short posting.

A program manager for Microsoft’s MSN division, Ian McAllister, has a personal blog that has an interesting tidbit of info… well gossip… possibly well-informed gossip considering where it is coming from. Read more…

< — No offence to Google. I do not mean to imply that they actually are barbarians. These things happen when puns are involved. — >

The New York Times is reporting Google the winner in the competition to catch AOL, culminating in a $1 billion deal between Richard D. Parsons, CEO of Time Warner and Eric Schmidt CEO of Google around 9pm last night.

Now staring Richard ParsonsAccording to the NYTimes, the negotiations went down to the wire last night, resembling a scene from Barbarians at the Gate with a group from Microsoft in one room, a group from Google in another, and executives from AOL running between the two.

The deal gives Google a 5% stake in AOL but also sees Google agree to giving favoured placement to AOL content on the Google site. It is also an event of seismic proportions, solidifying Google’s place as the absolute dominant search entity. It also denies MSN the premium paid- advertising entry point needed to challenge that position.

Parsons called Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this morning to break the news. When MSN enters the paid ad market, it will enter it way behind Google and Yahoo Search Marketing.

In the end, AOL gets a billion in the bank and some form of prominence on Google pages. Google keeps its biggest active rival off its back until the next deal comes along. We all get a lesson in irony as Microsoft gets a dose of karmic reality delivered by the owners of Netscape, a ghost from Microsoft’s past.

AOL, which has been likened to a greased pig, has apparently slipped out of Microsoft’s grasp and was last seen running south towards the Googleplex.

Earlier today, Reuters and the Wall St. Journal (no link – sub. req.) reported that Time Warner, owner of AOL, has entered exclusive talks with Google, effectively shutting out MSN at the last minute. The story is based on information from an unnamed source said to be close to the negotiations. A similar story that ran in the Journal last week said MSN was very close to a deal with AOL. Read more…

Google and Sun Microsystems held a joint news conference today to announce a multi-year collaborative agreement in which both companies will help distribute the other’s software. The agreement also sets the stage for Google and Sun to introduce server-side software that could pose a serious challenge to Microsoft’s Office suite. Read more…

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Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

Google Building Alternative Internet

Google is working on its most ambitious project to date, the creation of a global data transfer network that could effectively serve as a private Internet. Since the introduction of AdWords three years ago, Google has become the world’s largest media company and advertising vehicle. It has grown to rival Microsoft in scope and scale. The process has made it a fully globalized corporation. Read more…