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Google Considering Merger With Microsoft 563

buford_tannen writes "According to this New York Times Article (registration, etc.), Google may be considering a merger with Microsoft in the near future. As many people know, Google's search services are powered by Linux. "
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Google Considering Merger With Microsoft

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  • by Chelloveck ( 14643 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @09:57AM (#7357188) Homepage

    Um, isn't it still about 5 months until April 1st?

    • by brlewis ( 214632 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:04AM (#7357286) Homepage
      Reading the article, the Slashdot summary seems an exaggeration:
      Though seemingly spurned, Microsoft may still be interested in pursuing Google at a later date, according to an executive briefed on the discussions. Both Google and Microsoft executives refused to comment.

      Or perhaps Slashdot is celebrating some other holiday that involves scaring people.

    • Hey wait a minute - it does look kinda like Bill Gates under the O in todays Halloween Google image.

      Those silly Google guys!
    • by UrgleHoth ( 50415 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:12AM (#7357376) Homepage
      And the new company's name will be Mooglesoft.
  • by da3dAlus ( 20553 ) <> on Friday October 31, 2003 @09:57AM (#7357194) Homepage Journal
    You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
    • Re:MS to Google (Score:3, Interesting)

      by olip ( 203119 )

      Sounds like the Netscape scenario : Internet Search will be "embedded" into Longhorn, and if successful, so long Google.

      We may have to remember this day when, by saying no to MS, Google has committed suicide.

      But there are a few if's in this scenario :
      - MS search service successful,
      - MS OSes still dominant when longhorn released in 2007
      - ...
      • Re:MS to Google (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mirko ( 198274 )
        It is ALREADY integrated in MSIE : just type some search query directly in MSIE's URL bar and then enter : you'll eventually be taken to an MSN Search result page.
      • Re:MS to Google (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drgroove ( 631550 )
        Additionally, internet search is already imbedded into WindowsXP. MS can redevelop the user interface for this integration, but the integration is already there, and few are using it.
    • "...Release your anger. Feel the power of the dark side..."
    • Can you see it now searching for something.... msgbox pops up "Are you sure you want to search for that?"
      • by RickL ( 64901 ) *
        Clippy: "Hi! It looks like you are searching for 'Linux'. Would you like me to show you why Windows is better than Linux?" [blink][blink]

  • by DeadSea ( 69598 ) * on Friday October 31, 2003 @09:57AM (#7357196) Homepage Journal
    It does not appear that Google is seriously considering merging into Microsoft. Here are some links to stories (no registration required) and some quotes.

    The Ledger (NY Times business section) - Microsoft and Google: Partners or Rivals? []
    'Microsoft - desperate to capture a slice of the popular and ad-generating search business - approached Google within the last two months to discuss options, including the possibility of a takeover.'

    Financial Times (business section) - Google approached by Microsoft for takeover []
    'The approach "gained little traction" , according to the report, with Google indicating that it preferred to pursue an initial public offering.'

    CNN Money - Microsoft courting Google []
    'Microsoft may still be interested in pursuing the Web search company at a later date' (The page title is 'Mr. Softee Courting Google' despite the article heading.)

    It appears that Microsoft is trying to threaten Google with "If you don't merge with us, we'll make MSN search built into Longhorn, and everybody will use it instead of you because they won't know any better." To Google's credit, they think they can do a better job, find new and interesting areas to innovate, and generally tell Microsoft to suck it. The real question remains: Will Google be as good once they are a public company?

    • Whew!!!! Slashdot Halloween scare story!
    • by Call Me Black Cloud ( 616282 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:02AM (#7357264)
      The page title is 'Mr. Softee Courting Google' despite the article heading.

      That's because "Mister Softee" is the nickname for Microsoft among stock traders (from the symbol MSFT).

      I'm sure this is Melinda Gates' least favorite nickname for Bill...
    • by Evil Adrian ( 253301 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:02AM (#7357268) Homepage
      The real question remains: Will Google be as good once they are a public company?

      There's good and bad with the going public thing... if controlling interest remains with the current head(s) of Google, they may operate the same way they do now. World Wrestling Entertainment, for example, went public, but the McMahon family has the controlling interest... so when other stockholders bitch at them they basically say "Oh, really? Too bad."

      One problem with that approach is that your stock price will go down with that attitude...
      • Unfortunately, things arn't so cut and dried. Just because a group holds a controlling interest in a company does not mean that they can say 'suck it' to minority shareholders. Minority shareholders have rights, and there are lots of lawsuits out there where the minority shareholders sue to have their way (essentially if they can show that the people in control of the company arn't acting in the best interest of all the shareholders they can have the courts intervene.) I can imagine Microsoft buying up a si
    • by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:05AM (#7357295) Journal
      It does not appear that Google is seriously considering merging into Microsoft.

      I don't think that it would be up to google management. Since Microsoft has been recognized by the government, the matter would be up to the FTC. And I think that we all know that this would be an anti-competitive move.

      That said, I'm sure Microsoft could pay someone off but we would all find a new search engine once Microsoft ruined google and the employees leave to start fresh.
    • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:05AM (#7357300)
      The real question remains: Will Google be as good once they are a public company?

      Or, will Google's Board of Directors even have the option of resisting a Microsoft bid once they're representing public shareholders?

    • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:08AM (#7357325) Homepage Journal

      It's clear that Microsoft recognizes the value of Google's technology.

      I don't know about you, but my web browsing relies heavily on Google to find sites that I will look at. I mean, that level of reliance is almost like how I rely on libc . And any businesses that I might find on the other end probably consider high Google rank worth a lot of money.

      Microsoft, of course, loves to be in a position where people and businesses have to rely upon them heavily. It's potentially quite profitable.

      Until now, people have relied on Google's goodwill not to use their powerful position unfairly. Since there are monetary incentives for Googles business to "manage" those searches differently, I'm alway apprehensive and would be appalled if a company with Microsoft's track record were to gain that additional power (as if they aren't sufficiently powerful now).

      • by A55M0NKEY ( 554964 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:47AM (#7357739) Homepage Journal
        Worse case scenario: MS buys google and uses the engine on it's msn site, or starts accepting popup ads or worse, paid for placement in the search results themselves.

        What to do? Switch to Teoma.

        I use Teoma interchangably with Google. Teoma results are as relevant as Google's yet slightly different, however they almost always have the best most relevant results in common.

        Teoma's search site is as sparse and ad free as Google's and the search results are of as high a quality. The only Google feature I would miss if it were to dissapear tomorrow is the Google cache.

        • What to do? Switch to Teoma.

          I use Teoma interchangably with Google. Teoma results are as relevant as Google's yet slightly different, however they almost always have the best most relevant results in common.

          The problems I see with Teoma are

          1) they seem to crawl sites pretty infrequently (I see two old pages of mine 404's, another has had all its content moved to my new site (and redirects you there after a couple seconds). Google appears to visit my site at least once a month, sometimes mor
        • Check it out here [].
    • Google indicating that it preferred to pursue an initial public offering

      Well, what would you say if you were negotiating price? Generally an IPO raises more money than a sale (because the public is the greatest fool.) But it is not uncommon for a company to file an S-1, get a read from their ibankers for price and then sell the company to someone else. It would almost never make sense to sell before proceeding partway down the IPO path--how else could you get a feel for value?

      Couple that with the fact

    • Microsoft already points their browsers to by default, but amazingly many people know better and switch their search page to Google. So if Google didn't need any help from Microsoft before, why would they need it now? Thankfully this tactic hasn't worked as well for micro$oft as they had originally hoped.
    • Economist article. (Score:3, Informative)

      The Economist also have an article [] today on the subject of Goggle.

      The article speculates a possible $15bn Goggle IPO, and argues that this would be risky, because unlike Yahoo, Lycos, MSN etc, Goggle have only a single product, and can easily be displaced by a couple of clever computer geeks, just like the founders of Goggle did with Alta vista.

      Worryingly, they argue that Goggle should head into the paid for search search market in order to increase their current $150 m profit. ($150m is cle

  • by gricholson75 ( 563000 ) * on Friday October 31, 2003 @09:58AM (#7357213) Homepage
    Right now, despite the Scientology dust up, I, for the most part, trust Google's results. And I admire the way there ad system works.

    I doubt I could trust the results if Microsoft ran the show.
  • ...and I thought MS only had users by the balls.
  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @09:59AM (#7357225)
    SEARCH: Linux

    Sorry, no results found! Did you mean "WINDOWS"?

    SEARCH: Anti-trust

    Sorry, no results found! Did you mean "CAPITALISM"?

    SEARCH: Bill Gates

    Sorry, no results found! Did you mean "YOUR NEW CORPORATE OVERLORD"?

    • Re:Be very afraid! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pmz ( 462998 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:33AM (#7357555) Homepage
      SEARCH: Anti-trust

      Sorry, no results found! Did you mean "CAPITALISM"?

      Funny, perhaps. However, the reality is that Microsoft broke the rules of the free market in the context of even a libertarian government, and they will face the consequences. They painted themselves into a corner, where companies like Red Hat, Sun, IBM, Lindows, etc. are standing outside the door smiling widely. Of course, this will play out over the next decade, but it is rather inevitable even without the Justice Department intervening.
      • That brings up a good point. At what point does one cross over from "liberally interpreting" rules to outright illegal activity. We saw this with Enron, and WorldCom. They were so innured to working around the market, working around the regulators, working around their own people that by the end illegal seemed to them the only logicial path.

        And when you ask them, what did you want out of all this, the only answer you get back is more.

        We all secretly wish to rule the world. To have it all. We despise Bil

      • Re:Be very afraid! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by snarkh ( 118018 )
        ...reality is that Microsoft broke the rules of the free market in the context of even a libertarian government

        What are the rules of a free market?

  • Hrm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Geekenstein ( 199041 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:00AM (#7357237)
    Nice sensationalist headline there. MS said they were interested, Google politely said no. I see no "consideration" there.

    Of course, the whole point of the subject was to draw comments like this, so nice troll submitter, and nice troll to the admin who approved it.

    Also seen in the headlines:

    US Government considers merger with MS, Apple considers merger with MS, and GWB considers quitting presidency and working at Mickey D's.

    Fun, isn't it?
    • I think I have to agree with you. Today seems like a slow news day (nothing new since this morning, about 6 hours ago).

      Things like this go on all the time behind closed doors though. Rumour and speculation have taken over real facts here I think.
  • Well it reminds me of the simpsons episode when homer starts and ISP and microsoft just buys them out.
  • First they are considering an IPO and going public, and now they want to merge with M$?

    did they just wake up one day and decide, "we've been the best for a long time now, why don't we find some ways to really suck for a while?"

  • ...for a non-MS owned search engine. Based on the horrible search results and the pop-up ads I get with MSN search, I would definitely be looking at search engine alternatives. Right now, I use Google for 95% of searches I do.
  • I would rather they stay privately held rather than go down a path where micros soft can buy them out. Just my personal opinion.

    The siren call of all that money is tempting. but the danger is that you end up loosing all control. I am sure there are many former founders who have interesting tales of caution along this line.

    I do not want google to become another thing to be looted by a bunch of investment types or by MS.

  • by hookedup ( 630460 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:01AM (#7357249)
    Microsoft JET Database Engine error '80004005' Could not find file 'C:\inetpub\wwwroot\google\search.mdb'.
  • the humanity!
  • not right away (Score:2, Informative)

    by nystul555 ( 579614 ) *
    Thankfully, according to the article Google has decided to NOT sell out to Microsoft.

    "While the overture appears to have gained little traction - Google indicated that it preferred the initial offering route, the executives said"

    However they indicated it could happen in the future -

    "Though seemingly spurned, Microsoft may still be interested in pursuing Google at a later date, according to an executive briefed on the discussions"

    This would be very troubling if MS did buy Google at some point. Google ma
  • by Talonius ( 97106 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:01AM (#7357258)
    ...goes public instead can't Microsoft simply begin buying shares of Google to gain "ownership" of the company? Or, worse yet, Microsoft can simply make an offer that's really a damned good offer and the shareholders of Google - who will not be as staunch on the ethical grounds of "Don't sell obnoxious ads" and "Don't do something just to do it" and "Money is nice, but not everything." - will approve the merger with Microsoft?

    At least when you're a private firm these things are controlled by the vision of a few people who agree on things and a not a fractured group who are, for the most part, out to make a buck.
    • Not if Google keeps enough shares with the original owners to control the company. When a company goes public, it does not have to sell every share of the company they are issuing. A good example is Ford. The Ford family still owns almost 100% of the voting shares of Ford Motor Company. At no point in the future will there be a hostile takover of Ford without a lot of family members participating in the takover.

      Google could easily either hold a bunch of shares with the original owners (preferably more
      • Not entirely true (Score:3, Informative)

        by poptones ( 653660 )
        Once a company goes public, it is bound by different rules. And if a hostile takeover bid is sufficiently lucrative and if the FTC does ntor have objection on the basis of antitrust concerns, then the company HAS to accept the offer. This has happened more than once in the past, where a publicly held "family" company was taken over by hostile forces.

        If google is public and MS wants it, the only hope it would have of remaining "free" is that the FTC would decide MS doesn't need to expand its "monopoly" into

    • It all depends on the ownership structure - just because you're a public company doesn't mean that a majority of the shares are out in the marketplace. Google could go IPO, and still maintain majority control amongst the insiders.
    • You can't just buy shares that aren't there to be sold. Google wants to sell about 10% - 15% of the company in the IPO, which hardly gives anyone a strong influence.
  • Correction, were powered by Linux, Lisa, were.

    hmmm... Googles of donuts... auauguuuggghhh
  • by Pxtl ( 151020 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:02AM (#7357269) Homepage
    In that case, will Microsoft be embedding a Python interpreter into all their apps from now on? Death to .NET!
  • by z_gringo ( 452163 ) <<z_gringo> <at> <>> on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:02AM (#7357270)
    They've been trying desparately to get into this market for quite some time. It's not actually too surprising that Microsoft would be interested in teaming up with Google. Microsofts attempts at search engines just can't compare with google. If they did team up, I doubt seriously that they would make any sort of effort to convert it to a windows platform or anything.

    If they do team up, I sure hope they fix that crap in IE that re-routes me to this:

    "We can't find "doesnotexist.c0m"

    You can try again by typing the URL in the address bar above.
    Or, search the Web:

    Go to MSN Search to see complete results for "doesnotexist.c0m".

    A re-route to google would be far less annoying.

  • Two observations: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jcknox ( 456591 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:03AM (#7357279)
    First: I wonder how long it will take MS to figure out how to move Google to Windows. Remember the fiasco surrounding Hotmail's move from BSD (I think) to Windows?

    Second: I can see the top 5 results from a search for "Linux" now:

    1. Independent study shows Windows more secure than Linux
    2. How to lower TCO by switching from Linux to Windows
    3. Linux for terrorists, says expert.
    4. Nazis retake Germany, install Linux
    5. Linux bad for innovatoin, says expert panel.

    Of course, all of these links will be to "archived" versions of "authentic" articles on a MS server somewhere.

    Seriously. If we can't trust the MS marketing engine to be honest about their products, how can we trust them to keep their grubby fingers out of search results?

    At least we'll still have
  • ...but they may be more interested in the coders. If they were to merge, I'm sure the people who develop google will also be handed work on, maybe even new versions of Windows, IE, and Office. Bill sees the creativity and skill of Google's employees and would surely want some of that in Microsoft products.
  • by mxpengin ( 516866 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:04AM (#7357289) Homepage
    Search Results for linux :

    1) Guide to Migrating to Windows from UNIX and Linux
    2) Windows Services for UNIX 3.0 Product Overview
    3) 247804 - How to Remove Linux and Install Windows on Your Computer
    .... I really hope this doesnt happen ....
  • I have never really had any problems with M$'s policy of ... "If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em out" - I wish more companies made aquisitions and injected cash into their business model. The only problem is that usually Microsoft will buy out a company then close or proprietize the format. There are other posts here meant to be funny, saying, "Great, now they'll make only Internet Explorer compatible" The only concern I would have here is if Apple has the Google toolbar integrated into Safari and Apple User
  • I was having a good day until I read this. Now I'm sick to my stomach. /me checks calendar again to make sure it's not April 1st.
  • by tanveer1979 ( 530624 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:07AM (#7357316) Homepage Journal
    Grrreat, I will give slashdot credit. My dependable source of news. News for Nerds stuff that matters. Or should be rename it, to 'Gossip for nerds'.

    The article says M$ approached google for purchase and were told to get lost. And slashdot says Google considering to merg with M$. Agreed you editors are busy people but please do atleast a little research before posting anything. Or you just dont care maybe?

  • good grief, what a disaster that would be. I'm sure there'd be a flock of resignations pretty damn quickly if that happened (from Google, that is, not Microsoft.) Yikes!!!
  • Based on Microsoft's past history, when they buy content / service oriented organizations, they tend to replace the existing software with their own. It reminds me of good old hotmail, it seemed to be a priority with microsoft to switch over a working system over to NT after they purchaced it, the only likely rational being a PR move rather then a fuctional one. It doesn't matter whether or not which platform is better, it's about taking a working solid information system and adapting it to another platfo
  • Knowing Gates, it may not be my choice anyway because I do not use IE, and I refuse to use Windows.
  • Just buy ( err 'merge' ) the competition, saves you time an trouble creating a viable alternative.

    Sounds like monopoly in action.

    Google wont run on Linux after that.. just one more 'example of a failed Linux company, see they arent viable' to tout around...
  • the only company MS is under talks to buy right now is not google but our own satan incarnate SCO group..

  • So I guess the people who predicted the fall of the internet might be proven right after all.

    - MS merges with (takes over) Google
    - All Google's Linux based hosts are replaced with Windows boxes.
    (- Internet slowdown)
    - Latest worm exploits MS security vulnerability, spreads through all IE browsers doing searches, then through local shares to servers.
    (- Internet slowdown)

    BANG! :-)

  • by ubiquitin ( 28396 ) * on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:21AM (#7357461) Homepage Journal
    Two observations:

    1. Even the N.Y. times wasn't able to offer much real evidence for merger talks. Also, remember that they are just talks, and a preference for IPO was stated by the company.

    2. If Microsoft acquires Google, give them enough time and they will commercialize it to the point that it isn't as useful. At that point, the private world will once again rise up to meet the demand.

    The real underlying conflict here is between privately and publicly owned business. The mass markets and finely tuned product quality have always been at odds.
  • by ectoraige ( 123390 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:30AM (#7357529) Homepage
    "Netscape once threatened Microsoft with a software browser that promised to be an alternative to its overwhelmingly dominant computer operating system."

    Need I say more?
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:44AM (#7357687) Homepage
    "Don't be evil." []
  • by Ignorant Aardvark ( 632408 ) <> on Friday October 31, 2003 @10:51AM (#7357781) Homepage Journal
    Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, recently spoke at my school (University of Maryland; he got his CS degree here). In no uncertain words he said how much he hated Microsoft - he is on our side every step of the way - against monopolies, against DRM, against the DMCA (which forced Google to censor certain webpages), etc. The only way this merger will ever happen is over Sergey Brin's cold, dead body.
  • by HardCase ( 14757 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @11:09AM (#7357945)
    I read the article and it doesn't sound at all like Google is considering merging with Microsoft. It sounds to me more like Microsoft wants Google to merge with it. And it doesn't sound like Google is interested.


  • My tinfoil hat.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @11:18AM (#7358044) Journal
    My tinfoil hat may be on too tight, however:

    1. Microsoft Loses Antitrust case. []
    2. Bush gets into the Whitehouse and expected results of antitrust case become very wattered down. []
    3. Microsoft employee becomes chief of cyber security for the government - authors 'National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace' [].
    4. Google is known to have former NSA people on the payroll [].
    5. Microsoft's 'trusted computing []' strategy includes building an all in one DRM gateway [].
    6. Microsoft goes after Google...

    It seems to me that Microsoft is tightening their ties with government in an attempt to influence the upcoming DRM war. What better way to do that than to have an inside man to set internet security policy, to control all access of electronic resources into the home, and to control the most important search portal. There are probably other evidence to support this view - but I don't have the time to 'google' it all for you (kind of ironic, if it wasn't so scary in a 'big brother is watching you' sort of way...)

    To paraphrase Frank Herbert, "he who controls the access, controls the universe"
  • by nagora ( 177841 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @01:58PM (#7360270)
    1. This month's Google IPO rumour went around.
    2. Someone pointed out that MS has enough cash to pay the sort of money involved out of its reserves.
    3. Deadline looms for journalist who's spent too much time on the Web instead of doing real research.
    4. Microsoft to merge with Google story.

    Nothing to see here, move along.


  • by gukin ( 14148 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @02:04PM (#7360357)
    As root, do this:

    echo "" >> /etc/hosts

    You'll love it.
  • Sweet (Score:3, Funny)

    by spektr ( 466069 ) on Friday October 31, 2003 @03:40PM (#7361474)
    I heard before that Microsoft's future is bleak, due to the competition by Free Software. But I never thought that they would be bought up by a Linux based company this fast. I expect that their part will be the daily artwork on the Google-logo, since their software has never been entirely convincing. As long as it doesn't mess up my search results, I'm all for it - after all it helps to maintain jobs for quite a large bunch of talented clipart-designers, marketing people and lawyers, who would have a hard time without this charitable gesture.

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