Building a brand is the accumulated result of sustained heavy lifting. Losing that weight, however, often happens ounce by ounce. Yahoo!’s surrender to Google, masked in its new Microsoft partnership, is a classic example. This isn’t a big drop for Yahoo!, it’s more of a last gasp. According to BusinessWeek, “Yahoo alumni say as Yahoo outsources search to Microsoft, a wave of top-tier engineers will likely depart, taking with them the inner geekiness that’s fueled much success over the years.” BusinessWeek has the details: Yahoo: Losing the Geek Factor.
Proof of Yahoo!’s search engine demise is plain to see in this graph. When’s the last time you saw the second horse in a race concede the contest to the one in third? Google’s dominance in the category can be attributed to many factors. Google’s ubiquity is direct result of their simplicity and transparency. Microsoft’s Bing must be showing great promise for Yahoo! to cave. Then again, Microsoft is redefining the territory by being a “decision” engine, not a search engine. Does that really matter? Since Google’s become every bit as much a verb as it is a noun, I don’t think people care where they Google–even if they do it on Google, MSN or Bing.
UPDATE: Media Post’s Rob Griffin weighs in: “ Microsoft’s advertising, as fellow Insiders have written about a lot lately, is driving usage for Bing but it also lifting Google’s market share. The only person to suffer, search-wise, is Yahoo.”
Surrender by any other name is still defeat.