Today’s big Google buzz was the rumor reported by Michael Arrington at Techcrunch and in the Wall Street Journal that Google was in talks to acquire the popular YouTube video sharing site for US$1.6B. The purported deal is being endlessly dissected, but the general reaction seems to be that it’s a clever way for Google to use its mountains of cash to buy the major share of the large and rapidly growing online video viewing eyeball crop that they have failed to harvest with Google Video.
Microsoft –The software company, trails Internet competitors like Yahoo!, Google and AOL in most areas, and it’s moving slow with user-generated video. Its first offering, Soapbox, launched in invitation-only form on Sept. 18. Its professional video site, MSN Video, has little more than 5% of the video market. Yet Microsoft’s MSN Spaces blogging platform is the most widely used around the globe, according to ComScore, so the company likely wants to get as many of its 100 million users of that product onto Soapbox. If that doesn’t pan out soon, expect Microsoft to belatedly consider other options.
The downside to a deal is that YouTube seems to be a massive copyright lawsuit just waiting to happen and opinions vary as to whether a Google acquisition would help or hurt in that regard, but Google certainly does have the experience and the money for lawyers as they demonstrated today:
Google Inc. recently disclosed that it wants to use details about its rivals’ book searching features in order to defend its own methods against copyright infringement allegations from authors and book publishers.
Google has requested the details from Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc., plus major book publishers Random House, Holtzbrinck Publishers and HarperCollins, according to recent court filings.
The requests are part of Google’s response to a class action suit filed against it by several major book publishers and The Authors Guild, which collectively alleges Google didn’t get the proper OKs before making their work available to anyone with an Internet connection.
There are more details by following the link and here, but Google is asking for everything but the kitchen sink. Should be quite a party in the courtroom.
If the above seems like a hefty load, it’s only Friday’s news. Earlier in the week Google also:
This latter crop isn’t particularly Microsoft related, but illustrative of what Microsoft is going to have to compete with if they are serious about their “Live” endeavors. On the other hand, maybe Google is finally slowing down:
In another sign of Google Inc.’s growth from start-up to corporate behemoth, the company’s top executives said Thursday that they had begun telling engineers to stop launching so many new services and instead focus on making existing ones work together better.