If you’re stuck with invalid XHTML because you’re using YouTube videos in your posts, check out blog post by Bernie Zimmermann.
Google began with an almost ridiculously simple web site in an age of complexity. At the same time, the most popular search engines including Yahoo! were complicated and verbose portals of information, sorted into detailed categories. Google appeared with little more than a dialog box and very rapidly changed the way people seek out data on the Internet.
Google has become the second most frequently visited web site in the United States, but remains third in the world behind Yahoo! and perennial giant, The Microsoft Network (MSN).
And that is where we pick up our story; the story of the war between two giants who are making the Internet only big enough for one of them.
This year, Google and Microsoft have been working feverishly to sign agreements with other popular websites to supply them with advertising and search technology.
Google dropped a bunker-busting nuclear bomb when they signed MySpace, the third most trafficked site in the world and the most popular social networking portal on the Internet. As reported, Fox Interactive Media, MySpace’s parent company, agreed to have Google provide all of its search and keyword-based advertising solutions. This deal represented a massive show of force from Google as Microsoft had previously failed to secure the same agreement with Fox.
It is also relevant to note that MySpace.com alone reaches more people per day in the United States than MSN.com. MSN.com is the fourth-ranked website in the U.S., just behind MySpace.
Microsoft scrambled to rebound from this news by quickly signing an advertising deal with Facebook, the second most popular social networking portal. This was a necessary step, but as colleagues at Seattle PI reported, the deal raised some desperation alarms. The Wall Street Journal reported that this deal was reached and signed over a weekend at the same time Facebook was starting to seriously talk with Google. This shows that the agreement may have been rushed to avoid losing both MySpace and Facebook to Google.
While a positive salvo for the Microsoft side, this deal is no where near as large as Google’s pact with Myspace. Facebook, amazingly popular with college students, has less than 10 percent as many reported users than MySpace.
Google also reached a deal Aug 2 with XM Satellite Radio to provide automated solutions for its advertisers. The same day, it was reported that Google and long-standing Microsoft partner, RealNetworks, reached a deal that has Real offering its users the chance to bundle its software with Mozilla Firefox with Google Toolbar. Firefox has, itself, fired pot-shots at Microsoft’s web-browsing dominance.
Google and Ebay have never gotten along, but they both see green and the auctioneer was all too quick to forget Yahoo! for Google and a new feature called “click to call” advertisements, which will be household term in a few months.
All eyes should now be on YouTube, which has not signed an exclusive advertising deal with anyone yet. Google, and its ability to put dollar signs into even Rupert Murdoch’s eyes, may be the one to win over YouTube, a popular free video sharing and hosting service. Google promised News Corp $900 million in the MySpace deal. This would put Microsoft even farther behind Google in the data war.
What does this mean?
Website popularity is not just about bragging rights. As previously discussed, it’s all about money.
The age of the Internet Service Provider is closing. Even AOL is giving up trying to make money by charging people to get on the Internet. The Internet is no longer a toy or a luxury, it is a vital necessity and a part of everyday life.
But someone, somewhere has to make money off it somehow in order to keep things moving. That’s where advertising comes in. As long as people look, read, watch, browse and chat, advertisers–and the people that provide advertising technology–are going to make money.
The war is about who gets the biggest piece of the pie.
Microsoft and Google are the Soviet Union and the United States 20 years ago. One, a lumbering giant trying to hold fast to its traditions but learning it has to adjust to the times in order to survive, and another, a fast moving, aggressive powerhouse jockeying for position.
Yahoo! absolutely will lose its market share if they don’t make a large move very rapidly.
There are no missiles or walls this time, only information: not just the ability to search for information, but the ability to store, gather and provide information–the exclusive ability. Some of that information is not necessarily requested, but advertising is the price people are going to pay for free content and services.
This is the first in what will be a weekly series of financial news and how public relations and crisis play a role in stock prices. Special thanks to Yahoo! Finance for the financial data.
The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and other news sources are reporting a major legal setback for chipmaker Rambus. Rambus, primarily known for its catastrophic loss in the RD vs DDR ram wars, has been accused of monopolistic practices by the FTC. Shares of its stock are currently down over 20 percent.
It has been a long, bumpy road the Rambus, whose potentially technologically superior ram products failed, not because of product design, but because of marketing and a failure to “work well with others.” In an older article, PC World Magazine explained that Rambus was requiring manufacturers to pay expensive licensing fees to use its products. According to Tom Mainelli, Rambus is also no stranger to legal battles:
RDRAM is also plagued by its creator’s tarnished public image. Rambus has
infuriated much of the memory industry by filing lawsuits claiming ownership of basic patents to SDRAM. Rambus recently lost
its first case, which was against Infineon Technologies
Also in the Wall Street Journal Online Adobe Systems shares are up following the company meeting quarterly expectations. Also, game maker Electronic Arts is surprisingly up despite a growing loss. Surging videogame sales seem to be carrying them for now.
Trouble for internet telephone provider, Vonage, continues. Their stock is currently trading at lower than half its initial public offering price.
Finally, troubles continue for Kodak. MSNBC recently reported that the veteran camera maker is selling its entire camera manufacturing line to Flextronics Ltd. It has been reported today that Kodak’s revenues dropped 8.8 percent last quarter. Kodak’s public relations efforts have responded strongly to the news of the outsourcing, saying that this “move will bring greater flexibility and cost efficiency while ensuring Kodak’s world-class quality and product leadership in the digital camera marketplace” in a press release yesterday.
Flextronics’ stock has responded in kind with a boost today.
Its software was used by millions of people for years. The software was bloated with advertisements and often unwanted extras, but the concept was simple: enable people across the world to share multimedia files in a peer-to-peer environment, a practice the recording and motion picture industries saw take its toll on their bottom lines.
Now, Sharman Networks Limited, producer of the once-massively popular Kazaa software, has finally settled its lawsuits. At a cost of over $100 million according to I4U news, the future of Kazaa looks dim and almost certainly and strictly legal, according to CNN.
The Recording Industry Association of America celebrated the court decision as a victory for all. As stated in a press release, RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol is especially happy:
“This is welcome news for the music community and the legal online music marketplace…The winners are fans, artists and labels and everyone else involved in making music.”
As late as the 1990’s, popular music ranged from $18-$20 per album and $20 was the standard for a VHS movie, to say nothing of the starting prices for DVDs.
Today, movies are much less expensive than previously and even music prices have come down significantly. Is this just another market trend? Why were people so drawn to free, illegal movie and music downloading? The question is self-answering: free.
Nonetheless, the era of quick, free, illegal and inconsequential downloading is coming to a close in the United States. Consumers are left wondering what will come next?