Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

The Google Blog on Yahoo: BoomTown Decodes It, So You Don't Have To!

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

As a continuing public service, BoomTown translates the blog post yesterday that Google’s David Drummond (pictured below) wrote about Microsoft’s unsolicited bid to buy Yahoo for $31 a share.


Drummond wrote: Yahoo! and the future of the Internet
2/03/2008 11:45:00 AM
Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer

Translation: Please excuse the extreme tone of self-righteousness tinged by the sweet, sweet irony of this egregious attempt by the most powerful Internet company ever to play victim, which is only possible when our foe is the Death Star from Redmond.

Sergey and Larry totally foisted the brass knuckles on me, since they had to go kite surfing in Mauritius. Also, I am posting this on Super Bowl Sunday, as a form of geekish counter-programming. Lastly, I am not implying here that Yahoo is the future of the Internet. We are, obviously, but its distress will work well for our self-interested purposes.

Drummond wrote: The openness of the Internet is what made Google–and Yahoo!–possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It’s what makes the Internet such an exciting place.

Translation: By openness, we mean open in as far as Google will allow it to be open. By constant innovation, we mean our innovation. By exciting place, we mean our exciting place. And Yahoo was our Web company to kick around the Silicon Valley schoolyard and not Steve Ballmer’s.

Drummond wrote: So Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.


Translation: Troubling in that we wish we could buy Yahoo, and put our money where our big fat mouth is. I mean, do you want the Web to be controlled by one dominant player that seems to have no one to rein it in, no one to thwart it when it inevitably turns into that scary machine in the “Terminator” and builds a time machine to send cyborgs back and to kill the leader of the humans? Of course, that’s actually the Google plot line, but let’s pretend the creators of MSN and the Zune could pull that kind of massive world destruction off!

Drummond wrote: Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies–and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.

Translation: OK, let’s be honest, the era of Microsoft PC dominance is pretty much over now, but if we say “convicted monopolist” over and over, maybe we can revive that old bogeyman image of Bill Gates to scare all the little entrepreneurs. I mean, Eric Schmidt still gets night frights in which Microsoft Bob haunts his dreams.

Drummond wrote: Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft–despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses–to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet? In addition, Microsoft plus Yahoo! equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts. And between them, the two companies operate the two most heavily trafficked portals on the Internet. Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors’ email, IM and web-based services? Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions–and consumers deserve satisfying answers.

Translation: Convicted monopolist! Convicted monopolist! Convicted monopolist! And did we mention: Microsoft is a convicted monopolist. While very little ad money is made via instant messaging and Web email and that traffic still does not let them mint money in the basement like Google does, we’re still going to put the screws to the 3,356 lobbyists we hired in Washington, so as not to become, um, a convicted monopolist.

Drummond wrote: This hostile bid was announced on Friday, so there is plenty of time for these questions to be thoroughly addressed. We take Internet openness, choice and innovation seriously. They are the core of our culture. We believe that the interests of Internet users come first–and should come first–as the merits of this proposed acquisition are examined and alternatives explored.

Translation: This totally screwed up our plan to load up the GooglePlane with organic soy chips and pricey microbrewed beer and head to the Super Bowl, so we’re pissed.

Also, we are none too pleased about Microsoft’s meddling in our DoubleClick deal, so this gives us the opportunity for payback times 10 to the 100th. That’s a googol, which is, according to Wikipedia, “of the same order of magnitude as the factorial of 70 (70! being approximately 1.198 googol, or 10 to the power 100.0784), and its only prime factors are 2 and 5 (100 of each). In binary it would take up 333 bits.”

Figure that algorithm out, Monkey Boy!

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google