Is The Advertising Just A Head Fake In The Google/AOL Deal?
from the look-thataway dept
With so much talk leading up to the Google/AOL deal it hardly seemed worth mentioning that the two sides finally made it official last night. The analysis had been going on for days already, so it didn’t seem like there was much to add. However, while most people (including us) were focused on the advertising aspects of the deal, Om Malik is suggesting that’s all a way for Google and AOL to distract everyone from the real keys to the deal: voice and video. These are two parts of the deal that haven’t received nearly as much attention, but Om thinks they’re the important ones. First, Google’s disappointing GTalk will most likely be allowed to interoperate with AOL’s AIM, as a way of fighting back against Yahoo and Microsoft’s decision to let their instant messaging programs interoperate. Considering the relative positions of the two IM platforms in the market, that definitely helps Google — and could catapult them into the IM/softphone VoIP wars. Also, AOL and Google will be working together on video offerings, an area that Google has been trying to beef up lately — and with access (potentially) to Time Warner content, it could make Google’s video offering much more attractive. As usual from Om, these are excellent points worth thinking about. The big question, though, is how this actually plays out. AOL and Time Warner have shown an amazing knack for totally messing up any attempt at smart synergistic moves. The company just gets too political and worries about how doing the right thing harms a legacy business. It would be great if they really do more with voice, text and video — but it seems likely that they’ll stall a lot and put too many limitations in place. Google’s 5% ownership, $1 billion in cash and $300 million in free ads probably won’t be enough to convince AOL to act any smarter.