Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Government Elects MicroHoo Chief Google Catcher (Plus Bartz Videos on the Deal Approval)

Even the Justice Department gets it.

The MicroHoo deal is pretty much about catching Google.

But with a combined market share at less than half of Google’s, of course, that is an awfully tall marching order.

Still, although the DOJ has not yet ginned up its courage to investigate the search giant–something it may never do, in fact–it approved the search and online advertising partnership between Microsoft and Yahoo (without any restrictions, mind you) as a kind of proxy.

The key government regulator of such deals noted:

“[It] would be likely to increase competition by creating a more viable competitive alternative to Google, the firm that now dominates these markets…Most customers view Google as posing the most significant competitive constraint on both Microsoft and Yahoo, and the competitive focus of both Microsoft and Yahoo is predominately on Google and not on each other.”

In other words, MicroHoo floats together or sinks apart.

Not that the companies want to paint it so starkly right away, loudly not mentioning Google (GOOG) by name after the approval Thursday.

As Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer said: “I believe that together, Microsoft and Yahoo will promote more choice, better value and greater innovation to our customers as well as to advertisers and publishers.”

Instead, as you will see from a pair of Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz’s aggressively jaunty videos below, it’s all about improving the “search experience.”

For Yahoo, at least, that had better be true, as it needs to stanch the decline in its search market share, much of which is getting eaten up by–uh-oh–Microsoft.

And that is not even good news for the software giant.

As one top Microsoft exec told a crowd of lesser online execs at a recent meeting: The share gain has to come from Google and not Yahoo to really count.

Now–unless the Federal Trade Commission decides to step in over privacy concerns–we’ll finally see if the pair can pull off what would be the greatest coup ever in the tech arena: Knocking Google down a peg or two.

Here are those Bartz videos, in which she extols the deal:

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

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