Beyond Yahoo the search engine, Yahoo has a major business being the portal service provider to AT&T’s Dedicated Service Line (DSL) service. When you sign up for AT&T DSL, your PC gets pre-set to enter the Web via Yahoo — unless, of course, you know how to change the settings
Frankly, it worries me that Microsoft would become the de facto portal to all AT&T DSL customers. Microsoft already runs the technical platform of AT&T’s digital TV service. Too much Microsoft in everything I do.
The last version of MS Office keeps asking me whether I would mind allowing Microsoft to “contact” my applications.
Maybe I am paranoid, but if…
– MS runs my software
– MS runs my computer
– MS runs my Internet portal
– MS pipes in my TV entertainment through AT&T pipes
– AT&T runs my cell phone, expanding into full iPhone capabilities — maybe all that is too much for my comfort.
Any impact on agriculture? No, except maybe that having become so overwhelmingly big, the AT&T/Microsoft/Yahoo combination will be even LESS inclined to wire up rural America for broadband internet, while focusing even more on fancy, advanced high-price entertainment services for urban and suburban customers. That would be bad for farmers!
The good news however: maybe they’ll feel strong enough to offer some real competition to Google.
After some consideration, Marc asked to add a few points about Apple in addition to the merger thoughts:
Apple is not less intrusive than Microsoft in trying to run your computer. There are however a few fundamental differences:
– MAC sends you a monthly security update. That very much keeps the platform clean. MS seems to run behind the facts, MAC seems to anticipate.
– I have my kids on .MAC email, and there’s ZERO spam. I have four internet service providers, and the ‘cleanest’ is .MAC from Apple. The ‘dirtiest’ is very clearly AT&T’s SBC Global DSL service. ATT’s Worldnet dial-up is fairly good, and Cox communications is OK, but at least does a good job with email.
– When Mac offers you the free upgrades to their software, they give you full information about what, why and how. I have in the past skipped a few upgrades on the kid’s computer, without problems. So ‘Opting out’ is a realistic option.
Apple is very intrusive when it comes to iTunes. They sure have everything about your music preferences on file. But, I do not really mind. If iTunes ‘pre selects’ to my music preferences, just like Amazon ‘pre-selects’ for my reading preferences, it makes my life easier.
I would HATE it, though, if suddenly I notice ‘slippage’ of these preferences into other areas of internet sales. That would kill my trust (and my business) in a second.
We live in an interesting world, don’t we?