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Comcast Flirts With Microsoft, Teases Google

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Just as AT&T wants to leverage a better deal with Yahoo over their co-branded services, Comcast would like to parlay its broadband customer base into a bigger chunk of the search advertising revenue pie.

Comcast Flirts With Microsoft, Teases Google
Comcast Flirts With Microsoft, Teases Google
Comcast, Microsoft and Google

Comcast could opt for a new search ad partner in Microsoft if discussions with Google don’t bear the juicy fruit of rich profitability before the end of 2007. The cable company trails only the aforementioned AT&T in terms of broadband membership.

That membership could be seeing Live Search instead of Google as a search choice on Comcast’s properties if the report out of the Wall Street Journal proves accurate. At this time it is difficult to see the story, citing sources close to the discussion, as being anything more than a move on the chessboard of negotiation.

The report noted Comcast wants another digit added to the ad revenue split it receives from Google. Numbers being discussed now state Comcast desires a share of at least $100 million, a substantial upgrade from the $70 million they reportedly receive under current terms.

Comcast is a big provider of searchers to Google, and they probably will use that as an argument in favor of better terms. Other items from the article note Comcast’s unhappiness with Google on additional fronts:

  • Comcast wants more information from Google on how data about Comcast.net users is being used
  • Google doesn’t do enough to encourage people to search for additional content, and thus boost ad displays and the potential for clicks, when Comcast.net users view content on the portal

We have seen Microsoft and Google compete for business before, the last big deal being the AOL contract that Google ultimately won with a billion-dollar offer. Microsoft had been reputedly very close to stealing AOL away from Google, along with about eleven percent of Google’s ad revenue.

Microsoft may be in a position where it is being played for a better deal again, as AOL appeared to do to the company when all of this took place just before the end of 2005. If Steve Ballmer and company are serious about the "we’re in it to win" stance that ex-Microsoft blogger Robert Scoble mocked recently, winning Comcast away from Google would be a good start.

Comcast Flirts With Microsoft, Teases Google
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