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Google and Microsoft/Yahoo may be “Big Two” in New Media’s first phase. But, it won’t last long. 2/1/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Google, Microsoft.
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Microsoft has made an unsolicited offer to take over slumping Yahoo, apparently to compete head-to-head against Google’s lucrative online search and advertising businesses. I agree with Jeff Jarvis that this should satisfy advertisers and agencies who are still more comfortable buying advertising from large companies delivering mass audiences. It is easy to imagine “the suits” simply supplementing those media spending charts with rows that now read “ABC,” “CBS,” “FOX,” and “NBC” with charts that read “Microsoft” and “Google.”

But, let’s get a grip about the importance of all this. The future of the Internet is not mostly about search engines — it only seems that way because they were the first hugely successful monetized web service. When we are drawn to web sites it is because of their content, and when we find good ones we visit them again and again — we don’t roll the search engine dice each time. And for that reason, the future does not necessarily belong to mega companies like Google and Microsoft — it belongs to the millions of web sites that will deliver specialized audiences exploring specialized topics, which will provide opportunities for huge advertising productivity gains. For each of those specialized topics, a handful of the best may emerge, producing perhaps millions and millions of “Big Threes.” Those packets of media spending charts are about to get much thicker.

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