The Internet wars are over, and Microsoft lost. That’s the clear message from the impending Google buyout of five percent of AOL for $1 billion.
Microsoft tried mightily to win the deal and couldn’t do it. It was outmaneuvered by the nimbler Google. And perhaps the biggest blow of all was that one of the reasons AOL went with Google was that it believe that Google’s technology was better, and had a better handle on where the Internet was headed, and how to best take advantage of it.
I don’t expect that MSN will actually go away, or that Microsoft will give up its Internet plans. But the Google-AOL deal means that Microsoft will remain an Internet also-ran rather than a leader.
What are the implications? If I were Microsoft, I’d be worried about Office. Expect Google to launch a free Internet-available Office suite at some point, and it will be the first competition Microsoft has had for Office in recent memory.
Do you think Microsoft has lost the Internet wars?