Certainly that seems to be the message of this article — that, and the notion that “search is where it’s at” these days: Advertising: AOL’s Choice of Google Leaves Microsoft as the Outsider
The turn of events shows just how much Google - hotter now than Netscape was nine years ago - has supplanted Microsoft as the force to be reckoned with in technology. And it raises questions about Microsoft’s stated goal of becoming the leader in Internet searching, as well as about its emerging plans to offer more online services under a new brand, Windows Live.
“I thought Microsoft would pay just about anything to get this,” said David B. Yoffie, a professor at Harvard Business School. For Microsoft, he said, “AOL was the single best way to gain market share.”
Yet Google found a way to trump Microsoft’s hoard of cash, in part because losing to Microsoft was a strategic risk. Mr. Yoffie characterized the deal as “crucial and purely defensive” for Google because it “prevents Microsoft from being credible in search.”