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Feb 5
MicroYahoo! Vs, Google: The Implications For Health

The world’s atwitter at the prospect of Microsoft succeeding in its hostile takeoverMicro_Yahoo.jpeg bid for Yahoo!  Since Microsoft announced its intentions last week, people have been wondering whether the deal makes sense.  

Some think Microsoft is off its rocker.  In a column published in today’s Washington Post, Allan Sloan highlighted Wall Street insider Joe Rosenberg’s take on the deal.  He said “this is like a person who’s completely lost his mind.  It’s absurd, they’re not going to earn anything like a reasonable rate of return on their investment in Yahoo it doesn’t make sense.”  

While Yahoo’s earnings have been anemic, Microsoft is likely looking at the deal as the only it can reasonably compete against Google.  However, Google does not think much good can come out of a marriage between Microsoft and Yahoo.  It warns that Microsoft could use Yahoo to “exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC.”

This is a compelling argument, but it rings hollow to some.  Google is currently the undisputed engine of the Internet.   The vast majority of paid and unpaid online searches flow through it.  Love it or hate it, Google dominates the Internet like Microsoft once (and still) ruled over personal computing. 


Early Thoughts About MicroYahoo’s Online Health Strategy

From a health perspective, this potential deal gives us a lot to think about.  Currently, Google owns online health search and is positioning itself to become even more dominant when Google Health is unveiled later this year.  Going back to the ideas I outlined in a previous post (The Coming War Over Healthcare), Google is currently in the best position to:

-Influence behavior change with highly targeted health advertising

-Understand what the world is thinking and doing about health – via analysis of search terms and traffic patterns

Microsoft is currently behind the curve in both of these areas.  It could use Yahoo’s mega traffic numbers to bolster its ability to deliver highly targeted and relevant ads, which will impact how people find and perceive health products.  It could also use Yahoo to spark participation in Microsoft HealthVault.  

Finally, although Yahoo’s earnings aren’t very good right now, the health-related part of the business could help bolster Microsoft’s numbers in the coming recession.  The health sector is one of the only industries predicted to steadily grow over the next few years – primarily because of our aging population.

There is no guarantee that the deal will go through or that MicroYahoo will be successful.  After all, the Internet is all about innovation and flexibility.  Microsoft and Yahoo have been stumbling on both of these fronts lately. 

Despite this, the possibility of a Yahoo Microsoft alliance has Google worried.  When the emperor shows signs of fear we should all pay attention.  It’s always a sign there’s something we should be paying close attention to. 

Image Source: Associated Press  

2 Comments/Trackbacks

Sometimes the experts' predictions don't come true. I remember a few years ago, when the experts at Time Warner thought that if they could acquire AOL, Time Warner could become a trillion dollars company and make gazillions of dollars because of the enormous traffic that AOL used to get. Well, what happened? AOL is now a shell of its former self, about 5 yrs or so after it merged with Time Warner. Things have become so bad that I am hearing a rumor that Time Warner is planning to spin it off! The issue here is that the Beast at Redmond is too rich, irresponsible and is looking for a war with the "Don't-be-Evil" monster, and someday, they will have what they want and destroy each other. We need less evil in the world. The seeds that companies sow would be what they reap.

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