It's always amusing to read blog comments and hear just how unpopular Microsoft is. Of course a 90+ percent market share in their core business would seem to indicate a certain level of popularity, but apparently popularity is measured in a different way than simple arithmetic. It really doesn't matter if your average websurfer likes the guy on the left or the guy on the right in the Apple ads, because as we all know, hate is free on the Internet. But it's beginning to cost big companies big bucks to indulge in Microsoft hate in the boardroom
. Google hated Microsoft enough to sink a billion dollars into moribund AOL in 2005, likely simply to keep Microsoft from getting any sort of toehold in online advertising where Google reigns supreme. Google said Thursday that they're getting ready to take their beating for poking the Redmond bear. The Mountain View-based company disclosed in a quarterly report filed late Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the 5 percent AOL stake that it bought in 2005 "may be impaired." Impairment is an accounting term used to describe an acquisition or investment that has eroded.
Unless there is an about-face, the acquiring company eventually must absorb a charge on its books to account for the diminished value of its holdings.
Google acknowledged for the first time that it might have to recognize a loss on its 5 percent stake in AOL, whose struggles have made it a financial albatross for its owner, Time Warner Inc.
Amusingly, the article is displayed on Yahoo! News. Yahoo! managed to lose a potential 13 billion dollars in shareholder value by successfully fighting off Microsoft's proposed acquisition this year. You know, a billion here, thirteen billion dollars there; pretty soon this might add up to real money. Google certainly has the wherewithal to tolerate a lot more punishment than Y! these days. Wonder who cries uncle first?