Could the Microsoft-Yahoo deal be the start of something much bigger in terms of the power balances on the web? This post on Search Engine Watch blog examines the potential for the new deal to be the start of a wider chain of events that changes the landscape of the industry. Not everyone agrees. Jack Marshall’s assessment at Clickz after talking to a number of search marketers was that this would have little impact in Europe.
However, when the power in an industry shifts in a signficant way – as it has done with the news of Microsoft’s success at roping in Yahoo – there is nearly always a sequence of intended and unintended consequences. One that is definitely Microsoft’s intention is that, as an organisation, they have firmly fixed their colours to making a success of the search market. They could have continued to tinker for years making gradual progress – in fact this would the stated aim when Bing was launched – but now they have to be seen to be making more rapid strides forward.
Does Anyone Get it?
Another intended consquence is that with the new second place position in the search engine market which ‘Bing’ and Microsoft acquire is a shift in the global allegiances – that was the point about the post on Search Engine Watch. Steve Ballmer has been quoted as saying “Nobody gets it!” in response to the reaction of the stock market which was clearly unintended. His comments were connected with the falls in the values of Yahoo’s stock and linked to the fact that Yahoo keeps very significant shares for revenues in the deal – whilst also reducing cost. He could equally have been saying that noone gets what this means internationally. Yahoo has a stronger international sales force than Microsoft – but Microsoft also has Messenger and software tools which are clearly still preeminent around the world.
Might Google Bring Back Agency Commissions?
What remains to be seen is what other unintended consequences this might bring? What will Google’s reaction be? Will they re-introduce commissions for agencies to keep them on their side? If you were in charge of things at Mountain View, you’d now be saying:
“This could clearly cause us problems going forwards. Even though we’re in the lead right now – we need to prevent the momentum building up behind this move whilst it’s still struggling with the regulatory channels.”
Google will react. How they react will set the tone for the unitended consequences which noone right now can predict.
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