Microsoft's plan to defeat Yahoo-Google merger in Japan

When Yahoo Japan announced that they would be partnering with Google, entering into a deal that would put Google in a dominating position in Japan’s search market, Microsoft was understandably bothered. Aside from the fact that Microsoft, one of Google’s primary competitors in the US search market, had partnered with Yahoo US in an effort to dampen Google’s stranglehold on search market share, there is the 600-pound anti-trust gorilla in the room as well. Microsoft already publicly denounced the partnership, but now they’re coming forward with evidence that shows a Google-Yahoo partnership effectively owning 98% of the Japanese search market. This number is important because regulators struck down a previous partnership between Google and Yahoo US over anti-competition issues when they would have controlled less than 98% of American search market share.

According to Business Insider, Japanese regulators don’t seem to be worried about it. Takahide Matsuyama, executive secretary of Japan’s FTC, said

"In the U.S., the concern was that the companies would go from advertising competitors to collaborators. If they continue to compete for advertisers, the issue of changing your search engine is not an anti-trust problem."

Ted Hennebary, anti-trust expert and senior partner at Orrick, Herrington & Scuffle, thinks that Microsoft has a case. He’s surprised that Japanese regulators are being relatively nonchalant about the issue, and that "In most jurisdictions, this deal would raise very serious and substantial competition concerns."

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Google and the CIA invest in analytics firm

Next Story

Medal of Honor Limited Edition purchasers to get access to Battlefield 3 Beta

17 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

If MS wanted to be considered, they should make a better search engine.. Bing outside of US/Canada and a few Euro nations, is just re-branded Live search, which sucks.. Not even in the same league as Google is, or even what Yahoo WAS..

The important line is here:

"In the U.S., the concern was that the companies would go from advertising competitors to collaborators. If they continue to compete for advertisers, the issue of changing your search engine is not an anti-trust problem."

I kind of agree with the Japanese, I mean, Yahoo is only changing the search under the hood. They're not really merging or anything of that sort with Google and still competing with Google at the same time.

thealexweb said,
The title is a bit misleading because it suggests there are going for a full blown merger.

Yeah, it isn't really a merger at all. More of a partnership... ?

Microsoft you have a 2% market share in the search business in Japan, if they don't want to use you, you can't force yourself on the Japanese. Google is the more logical choice for Yahoo Japan because it already has the backing of half of the Japanese public.

Maybe Microsoft you should be trying to get more people to actually use Bing as in going to Bing.com and doing a search rather than taking the easier option and just piggy backing of other websites.

thealexweb said,
Microsoft you have a 3% market share in the search business in Japan, if they don't want to use you, you can't force yourself on the Japanese. Google is the more logical choice for Yahoo Japan because it already has the backing of half of the Japanese public.

Still, a 98% number is a problem.

If all computer makers decided to drop everything other than MS Windows because it is a "logical choice" - would you see that as a problem?

IMO, I support this, because otherwise Google effectively corners the market.

BigBoy said,

Still, a 98% number is a problem.

If all computer makers decided to drop everything other than MS Windows because it is a "logical choice" - would you see that as a problem?

IMO, I support this, because otherwise Google effectively corners the market.

I'm talking about it would be a logical choice from Yahoo Japan's point of view not the publics.

BigBoy said,

Still, a 98% number is a problem.

If all computer makers decided to drop everything other than MS Windows because it is a "logical choice" - would you see that as a problem?

IMO, I support this, because otherwise Google effectively corners the market.

You may see it as a problem, I may see it as a problem but if the Japanese authorities don't see it as a problem them it isn't in Japan.

I also find the reference to a similar thing being blocked in the US to be laughable. Japan isn't the US.

BigBoy said,

Still, a 98% number is a problem.

If all computer makers decided to drop everything other than MS Windows because it is a "logical choice" - would you see that as a problem?

IMO, I support this, because otherwise Google effectively corners the market.

I agree.

BigBoy said,

Still, a 98% number is a problem.

If all computer makers decided to drop everything other than MS Windows because it is a "logical choice" - would you see that as a problem?

IMO, I support this, because otherwise Google effectively corners the market.


oh wait.. no one is dropping any service from japan..... Bing i still there in japan people can use them

boo_star said,
You may see it as a problem, I may see it as a problem but if the Japanese authorities don't see it as a problem them it isn't in Japan.

I also find the reference to a similar thing being blocked in the US to be laughable. Japan isn't the US.

I'm sure people realise that Japan isn't the US. It doesn't mean you can't make the general comparison.

thealexweb said,
Microsoft you have a 2% market share in the search business in Japan, if they don't want to use you, you can't force yourself on the Japanese.

Wow, you read a lot into "Microsoft is bothered". I'm bothered by your thought process, but that doesn't mean I'm forcing myself on you.

Yahoo should do what's best for their position in the market. If they do the wrong thing, the market will respond. Bing and Google are both destination sites, so parterning with either instead of developing competing technology could hurt. People who find themselves getting more utility out of Google or Bing results might opt to eliminate the middle man (Yahoo) altogether.