Quit Yer Whining: Microsoft Could Have Bought DoubleClick, but Didn't

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Losing is not fun. Neither are sore losers. Looks like a whole lot of mirthless days ahead for Microsoft, now that it has let DoubleClick slip through its fingers and right into the waiting hands of archrival Google. I wonder who had the final say on Microsoft not going above $2 billion for DoubleClick, as has been reported, and whether they've gotten any sleep over the weekend.

Before the sale was announced Friday, these benefits were predicted for Microsoft and its ailing online strategy if it acquired the company, as compiled by ZDNet's Larry Dignan:

  • A more powerful and competitive AdCenter
  • A pretty piece of the online ad market
  • Much-needed executive/management expertise in online advertising

Now that Google has outbid Microsoft, Yahoo and others and is acquiring DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, Microsoft gets ... a chance to complain that the deal will produce an anti-competitive climate? I think it did that all by itself.


Of these three front-running potential buyers, which appeared to need it most?


Not Yahoo, which has a healthy display ad revenue stream. Not Google, the master of online strategy. Dominate search advertising? Check. Dominate display advertising? Pretty soon. (And it won't even have to develop its own display advertising platform or the ad marketplace that rumors said was to compete directly with DoubleClick.)


Now, Microsoft is not the only one crying -- Yahoo and others are joining in on the call for regulators to butt in -- but it's crying the loudest.


That's not to say that Microsoft can't now turn around and acquire a competitor of DoubleClick, or better yet a whole passel of them, but why bother? It'd be like tripping on the broken sidewalk, looking back at the offending spot and saying, "I meant to do that." It accomplishes nothing after the fact.


And you look like an even bigger idiot.


Maybe now it'll have to go back to its plan to buy Yahoo, and I expect that extra $1.1 billion will seem like pocket change at that point.