Internet news and search engine site Yahoo has been struggling to compete with companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Google for years, and now rumors are circulating that it may be looking to throw in the towel.
Yahoo’s over-the-phone termination of CEO Carol Bartz in early September made waves with stockholders and execs alike, and left a vacuum at the company that has yet to be filled with someone who can bring the organization into direct competition with its familiar, fast-growing contenders.
Yahoo is still a highly popular Web destination, however, and is far from losing the loyal following it retains. The question now being asked is whether company leaders are going to try to leverage what attraction remains into a sale as Google shops equity firms that may be interested in financing a deal.
Google isn’t the only shark in the water. Microsoft’s Bing search platform already powers Yahoo search, which holds 15.5% of the search market, and that relationship puts Microsoft in clear opposition to Yahoo’s acquisition by Google.
Microsoft has already been pegged as a potential backer for a Yahoo takeover in the event Google makes an offer, which may be unlikely considering the level of antitrust anxiety a Google merger would ignite. Google abandoned a similar Yahoo acquisition plan three years ago when the U.S. Department of Justice promised a lawsuit, and neither company’s numbers have changed so much that the threat would be revoked.
Many industry observers are confident the merger speculation will come to nothing at all, and that government intervention would be a foregone conclusion. Google’s 65% share of Internet search combined with Yahoo’s share would create a powerful monopoly, although it remains to be seen what the partnership may look like from the perspective of antitrust law.
Web marketing strategists and search engine optimization (SEO) specialists have also voiced concern over a partnership between Google and Yahoo. The resulting Web juggernaut would exert unimaginable control over search results, and would be able to force Web content providers to submit to guidelines that could go far beyond simply ensuring search engine users are provided with high-quality content.
There is no way to predict what the real outcome of such an alliance may be, but it would without doubt create a possibility for Google to make much more controlling decisions about what people would ultimately find in their search results as they surf the Web, at least when using one of the two most popular search engines on the Internet.
This article was written by James Madeiros, Staff Writer for Sparkplug Digital, a Seattle SEO company.