The breaking news that Microsoft is seeking to take over struggling online search company Yahoo! is a clear sign of where the Internet business is going.
Microsoft is actually on the up at the moment with a massive 79% increase in trading during the last quarter of last year. While Google’s profits (up a mere 17% to $1.2 billion) had failed to excite the markets. But rival Yahoo!’s profits had fallen by nearly a quarter to $200 million at the same time. Not chicken feed, but in global internet business terms, not big potatoes either.
It is one of the truths about the Internet that it encourages much greater business diversity in general. But by its global nature, the companies that actually run the Internet will always tend towards monopoly. For online news that is a problem. If there is no free market in search then we will face all sorts of commerical and even editorial problems.