Yahoo's Openness Asset
What if Yahoo's main value isn't its search engine or its advertising business, but the openness that makes it more Net-native and hacker-friendly than Microsoft? Does Microsoft understand that this same kind of openness plays a large role in Google's success as well?
The openness of the Internet is what made Google -- and Yahoo! -- possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It's what makes the Internet such an exciting place.
So Microsoft's hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It's about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.
Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies -- and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.
Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft -- despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses -- to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet? In addition, Microsoft plus Yahoo! equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts. And between them, the two companies operate the two most heavily trafficked portals on the Internet. Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors' email, IM, and web-based services? Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions -- and consumers deserve satisfying answers.
That last paragraph, however sincerely felt and expressed, is FUD. The chance of Microsoft trying any of that crap, much less succeeding, is zero. Or, if they try, suicidal. As Joe Nocera says in the New York Times, "the old strategies that once worked so well for Microsoft strategies that worked when the world still revolved around Windows have no place in this new world".
On the other hand, the chance of Microsoft trashing Yahoo's open culture, open code, open APIs and support for open communities exceeds zero. But by how much? We don't know yet. We might hope that Microsoft begins to understand that one big reason Google kicks Microsoft ass is Google's highly participatory membership in the world of open code and open standards. We might also hope that Microsoft might understand that the most valuable assets Yahoo has are goods that are totally useful but essentially un-sellable. That includes employees, users, customers and code.
Of course the mainstream ignores that completely.
Also ignored is vulnerability in the entire online advertising business. It's growing like crazy, but it also has all the signs of a bubble just like it did back when "push" was a big buzzword* back in the late 90s. As Don Marti put it to me on the phone a few minutes ago, "the main role of advertising is to cost money".
For all the degrees to which Google has improved advertising by making it accountable, and by making it useful as a strategy for countless companies large and small it is still wasteful. For every click-through there are dozens to millions of "exposures" that are wastes of electricity, server cycles, bandwidth, pixels, rods and cones.
Advertising is also all about supply pushing toward demand. What happens when demand starts pulling supply? On its own terms, and not just those of the supplier, and outside of any supplier's silo? This will happen, and it will obsolete much of advertising as we know it.
No, I'm not saying advertising will go away. It won't. But the bubble will burst. Count on it.
Meanwhile, if it looks like Yahoo will disappear inside Microsoft, or if the only Yahoo assets Microsoft finds worthwhile are search and advertising weapons it can use to battle Google, this deal will go down as one of the biggest blunders in business history.
* Those two links go to pieces I wrote back in 1997 and put up on the Web because I couldn't sell them to any mainstream magazine. They provide a good window on the last bubble, gassing up on bull fumes.
Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Rogue Wave Software's Zend Server
- Parsing an RSS News Feed with a Bash Script
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide