Microsoft Verizon Deal Said to Be Near

November 12, 2008

Google learned that Sun Microsystems cut a deal with its former enemy Microsoft. Now Google may have to adapt to Microsoft’s winning the contract to provide mobile search to Verizon. Steven Muil’s “Microsoft Said Closer to Verizon Search Deal” provides a good summary of what appears to be happening. For me, the most interesting comment in Mr. Musil’s story is this comment:

Google’s preoccupation with regulators over the Yahoo deal reportedly helped create the opening for Microsoft with Verizon, the sources told the newspaper. The move comes as the two companies ramp up their efforts in the mobile arena. The first phone based on Google’s Android mobile operating system–a challenger to Microsoft’s Windows Mobile–recently went on sale.

This comment made clear to me that Google, despite its brilliant record of successes, is not immune to big company disease. When a deal like this slips away, I am inclined to think that the management team is rushing from meeting to meeting, email to email, and decision to decision without appropriate management oversight. Chaos is often useful when cutting and pasting code widgets together to create new applications and services. However, business deals have a different composition. Deals can slip away because details get overlooked because everyone is too busy.

Is this deal set in concrete? I don’t know. What I do know is that the messages sent about the misfire with Yahoo, the Sun shift to Microsoft, and now this alleged tie up between Microsoft and Verizon resonate with me. Has Google underestimated Microsoft? I am eager to see what tomorrow brings.

Stephen Arnold, November 12, 2008


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