Has the time really come that Microsoft is forced to include other browsers on their operating systems? Since the early 90’s Microsoft has only bundled Windows with Internet Explorer, but the European Union antitrust agency may force Microsoft to start including other browsers as well.
If Microsoft is forced to install other companies’ browsers, this could represent a new unexploited area for advertisers. It will force OEMs and Microsoft in general to give the end-user a choice of which browser they want on their computer. If this happens, Microsoft will no longer be able to tie certain programs into their browser. For example, Windows Live Messenger will no longer require Internet Explorer. Microsoft may also be required to pay additional fines to the European Union antitrust agency for not including additional browsers on Windows based systems and integrating the operating system with their browser.
A search ad deal between Yahoo and Google announced back in June might have helped dramtically change Yahoo's fortunes. The company said it would generate $800 million from the proposed deal, and $250 million to $450 million in incremental operating cash flow within the first year. Instead, Yahoo made nothing from the deal, because Google pulled out amid fears of a protracted antitrust suit.
Those fears were very much justified, as we've now learned that the U.S. Department of Justice was a mere three hours away from filing the inevitable suit, according to Sandy Litvack, the lawyer hired by the Justice Department.
"We were going to file the complaint at a certain time during the day," Litvack said in an interview with American Laywer's AmLaw Daily. "We told them we were going to file the complaint at that time of day. Three hours before, they told us they were abandoning the agreement."
It's hard to tell whether or not Google made the right decision, but from Litvack's standpoint, he admitted to being "pretty confident" in the government's case.
Yahoo just can’t seem to catch a break. The search site’s prospects are looking dimmer and dimmer as Yahoo and Google negotiate with the Justice department to try and head off a potential antitrust lawsuit stemming from their proposed advertising partnership. Several compromises are being discussed which would lessen the strategic value of the partnership for Yahoo.
The currently proposed concessions, according to the Wall Street Journal, “include capping the volume of Google ads Yahoo would use, assurances that Yahoo would continue to compete in search ads, and a reporting mechanism to ensure compliance… U.S. officials hope to impose measures that will ensure the prices advertisers must pay don’t rise significantly after the deal.”
According to Silicon Valley Insider, these compromises would leave the already down-in-the-mouth Yahoo in an even weaker position, cutting out much of the benefit they had hoped to gain from the ad partnership. They also suggest that Microsoft’s lobbyists are responsible for the Justice Department’s scrutiny of the deal, writing that “even if [Microsoft] doesn’t buy Yahoo, it gets the quiet pleasure of poking another stick at the carcass of a company that spurned it’s now extraordinarily generous buyout offer.”