AS THE COMPANY that almost missed the Internet, Microsoft has reacted angrily after finding out that Yahoo Japan decided to go its own way and choose Google for its search and advertising partner.
The Japanese arm of Yahoo, a third of which is owned by US parent Yahoo announced that it will use Google's search and advertising engine to power its portal. Surprisingly, Yahoo still remains the top search engine in Japan, not bad for a country known for its eagerness to adopt new technologies.
The deal flies in the face of its American parent and namesake that tied the knot with Microsoft last year. That has left the once proud web portal doing little more than cold calling advertisers trying to drum up business. Apparently Yahoo Japan believes that its deal with Google will serve its needs, and it doesn't much care that its choice of partners will also underline the Vole's poor position and performance in the Internet search and advertising markets.
It almost beggars belief then that Microsoft would turn around and claim the hook-up could stifle Internet competition. Yes, you read that right. Accusations of anti-competitive behaviour from the company that spent years in court both in the US and the EU fighting and losing court cases where it was charged with anticompetitive practices and abusing its monopolies in the PC operating systems and office applications suite markets.
According to Microsoft's general counsel, "This agreement is even more anti-competitive than Google's deal with Yahoo in the United States and Canada that the Department of Justice found to be illegal." Apparently he managed to say this with a straight face, which is impressive, given Microsoft's history.
It didn't stop there, Microsoft's moaning progressed into whingeing. "It means there will be no search competition in Japan and that Google will end up controlling all personal search information for all Japanese consumers and businesses."
Perhaps instead of bleeting, the Vole should actually try and develop something people will want to use, rather than running to the US ITC or the nearest judge in order to hamper technological advancement.
Clearly competition in any industry is key but seeing Microsoft crying foul about something it managed to earn billions from has given us, and without doubt many others, cause for some amusement. Perhaps it is shame that has stopped the Vole from saying that it will challenge the Yahoo Japan deal with Google in court, or more likely, it simply knows that it hasn't got any hope of winning.
Keep the excuses coming boys, in these tough economic times we can all do with a laugh. µ