I read over the weekend that Microsoft is trying to buy Yahoo!. They are willing to pay a nice premium over where the stock is at right now (having been beaten down by disappointing earnings), so it would represent a nice profit for Yahoo! stockholders. Will the deal go through? Who knows.
As search marketers, we would like to see the deal go through. We have tried to use Microsoft’s search network and marketing platform (and continue to try) but Microsoft just doesn’t have enough traffic yet, and its ad serving platform sometimes just doesn’t seem to work very well. There are some features of Microsoft’s ad center control panel that we really like, and some that we don’t like.
The same with Yahoo! There are some features of its control panel we like, and some we don’t. If the merger does happen, we would hope Microsoft would combine the best features of the two platforms into something really useful. The keyword inventory of the combined companies would also come closer to rivaling Google, and would exceed Google worldwide.
Frankly, we would just rather have to only deal with two major search marketing platforms than three. We like a lot of the things Microsoft has tried to do. Combining Microsoft’s technology with Yahoo!’s Web positioning would create something new that could really be a boon to search engine advertisers. It would also set up an even more competitive situation between Google and the combined company, which should result in an increased pace in innovation and a better situation for advertisers. It seems counter-intuitive to think that a decrease in competitors from three to two would result in more competition, but it would. Microsoft just does not have the search engine traffic to be a real threat to Google or Yahoo!. But the new merged Microsoft/Yahoo! would be able to give Google a real run for its money. And that would be good for all of us.