Sunday, June 15, 2008

Mobility Impact from Google-Yahoo Deal

Wired has an article not just about the deal between Yahoo and Google but a bit of analysis.

Here's a quick rundown of potential winners and losers and how the deal impacts mobile warriors.

Potential Winners:
  • Google. Not "potential". They won this round.
  • Yahoo publishers and users. Better ads that is directed at them.
  • Microsoft. Only if they quickly put this distraction behind them and Balmer focuses on other deals for advertisement. Video advertisement is somewhere they are doing better than Google. They need to go out and step up their game. Those are the deals they need because its high profile. No buyout deals for shortcuts.
  • Office equipment manufacturers.
  • Yahoo employees. Expect more letters and cheerleading from Yang. After working so hard, I can imagine a lot of the people who worked so hard on their new ad engine very demoralized. Afterall, it was not their fault for series of delays on the part of Yahoo executives.

Potential Losers:
  • Yahoo shareholders. Oh, those billions. Only Yang and his confessor can really know why he kept declining Balmer's marriage proposal. Even if this deal with Google goes as plan, they will not be looking at those billions any time soon.
  • Advertisers. While Google has not demonstrated a mean streak like Microsoft with their desktop monopoly, it sucks to have only one guy to deal with and not three guys to play them off each other.
  • Search. Less competition. Less innovation. While Google still has to contend with Microsoft, Microsoft really has not demonstrated itself to be threat. Ask a typical user out there if they know the different between MSN and Live. I bet they probably don't know Microsoft operates Live. Microsoft has no centralized strategy beyond buy Yahoo at this point.
  • Microsoft. Balmer seems to be taking this quite personally. More chairs and tables destroyed? Here's the different between Gates and Balmer. Gates is very passionate about Microsoft's technology and impact. Balmer is just very passionate. And with no focus, it's not good for Redmond.
  • Yang. From founder to CEO to potentially being spoken in the same breath as the captain of the Titanic.
For mobile warriors, it really depends on where you're coming from. For users who routinely use the Internet as a part of their work, we are not likely to see any wholesale changes. For our mobile devices, the change will come depending on how the deal helps Yahoo. It's currently doing well in the world of mobility but there will be a lot of distractions within Yahoo for months to come. This can affect innovation and deployment.

Yang will have to deal with a proxy fight with Icahn.
An ugly fight will lead to some Yahoo people leaving the company particularly if the severance plan adopted in the early days of Microsoft's failed takeover is triggered. This will likely impact mobile innovations from Yahoo if they start focusing their attentions else where.

Also, in the recent discussions regarding the 700Mhz auction, Yahoo was not a factor. Maybe that might not be a big deal because I haven't heard Microsoft making a play or their opinions public either. It is likely both companies knew the telecom giants were going to win in the end and simply did not want to antagonize the winner.

Google will likely remain vocal as it as a lot at stake with Android-installed phones scheduled to be released 4th quarter of 2008. A clear victory will give Google a bigger voice in the mobile realm. Here, Yahoo and Google are still competitors and an already weakened Yahoo could mean Google gaining more of a foothold onto the screens of mobile devices. This could be more evident with Android phones.

How about Microsoft's plans for mobile users? There's nothing different between the various versions of Windows Mobile that grabs users. Perhaps, in Mobile 7, we'll see a lot of iPhone features simply copied over and Balmer will labeled them as innovations.

So far, everything is speculation. Everyone is in a wait-and-see mode. For mobile warriors, new features and services will still be coming but not necessarily from Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo. Regardless of how ads are implemented, we will not be impacted greatly in the near future.

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