Did Google again leave Microsoft in the dust?

My early take on Google's $3.1 billion snatch of DoubleClick:

I just got off the conference call and it was blah, blah, blah about efficiencies and synergies. Eric Schmidt was so jazzed about the deal that he called in from Argentina. (Funny, but you couldn't hear it from his voice--either the dude's really tired or just too fried by the south-of-the-equator heat. No matter. Once he gets back to cooler climes, I'm sure he'll be doing major high-fives with Sergey and Larry.)

Fact is that Microsoft and Yahoo got aced out yet again. Couldn't either company also have made good use of DoubleClick? I don't see any obvious reason why not. What's interesting about DoubleClick is that the company has a real business in display advertising. Unlike the YouTube deal--which still could go either way--DoubleClick has a steady business with good management. And nobody's suing them.

The big question seems to be the price. Some questioners focused on the big dollar signs attached to the deal. Weren't there other companies with equivalent technology that Google might have acquired at a lower price?

Perhaps, but Google's flush with cash and the stock remains in the stratosphere. You know the old cliche about striking while the iron is hot. Well, sports fans, this may be Google's high watermark, so why not give it a whirl?

Former Sen. Everett Dirksen was credited with the much-quoted phrase "a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money." Still, when it's Google, a billion--or in this case, $3.1 billion--that's a veritable drop in the bucket.

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About the author

Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.

 

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