MSYahoo Would Be Good for the Market

The New York Post is speculating on the possibility of Microsoft aquiring Yahoo! This deal would deflate the notion that Google is a monopoly as the combined company would be a formidable force in the online world. I also found this aspect of the story very interesting:

Aside from cost savings, a deal would also create opportunities to use Yahoo! content on Microsoft devices, such as making music exclusively provided to Yahoo! Music available on Microsoft’s Xbox game console and Zune music player.

The online music point is important because currently the iPod enjoys a 70 to 80 percent market share. MSYahoo! would put the Zune on better ground to be a serious challenger to the iPod. Making this deal a threat not only to the market dominance of Google in Search, but also to Apple in online media.

Imagine that Microsoft had been forced to break-up or spin-off its browser or other divisions when it was accused of monopoly practices. The Microsoft of today would be unable to pose such challenges, with or without aquisitions, to players such as Google. By crippling the market leader of yesterday we would have removed some of the greatest competition for the market leader today.

In the past antitrust regulators have succeeded in breaking up firms with the ironic affect of allowing other firms to come to more dominant positions as the market continued to develop and change. Hopefully antitrust regulators will realize that their narrowly defined and static conception of markets are arbitrary to begin with and no supposed monopoly can possibly last that long in a free and open market.

Why is this true? Well, supposing that a monopoly acts as the trust-busters say they do it will provide a product at an inflated price due to lack of competitions. This presents a very tempting target for competitors who wish to steal away market share. Almost immediately after the iPod gained its dominance several challengers came to the fore touted as “iPod killers” precisely because of this tremendous incentive to introduce another choice into the market.

Unfortunately its doubtfult that the mentality of regulators will advance as quickly as the technology sector.