Search Engines: Who Owns What

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Google’s list of subsidiaries drew some attention after that company’s 10-K annual report filing took place; that sparked interest in what other companies have under their voluminous corporate structures.

Plenty of people know about Google’s acquisition of YouTube, thanks to the white-hot interest in online video and how Big Media companies plan to deal with it. Did you remember offhand the mobile software startup they bought in 2005 (Android)? Or the name of the company behind the Writely online word processor that now carries the moniker of Google Docs (Writely)?

The list of Google’s subsidiaries has the A to Z, actually @ to Z thanks to @Last Software. Interest in that list motivated several folks to tip Resouce Shelf to several others like Yahoo, Microsoft, IAC (owns Ask.com), Time Warner (as in AOL), and Amazon.com.

Amazon’s meager lineup doesn’t quite capture the imagination. AOL’s buffet contains a few more interesting morsels, like MapQuest, ICQ, and one-time online access competitor Compuserve.

(Oldies who remember the tech support for software and hardware Compuserve once carried for numerous tech companies, feel free to daub a tear from your eye.)

Barry Diller’s IAC reflects its iconic leader’s business style. The IAC subsidiaries range from online services like Ask and Ticketmaster to holdings in several other industries.

From Microsoft’s tally sheet, one entry stands out. Microsoft Treasury almost sounds like a game that Bill Gates would play on his personal Windows machine. Also of interest: most of Microsoft’s subsidiaries are incorporated in Nevada, rather than Delaware as IAC, Google, and Amazon seem to prefer.

Yahoo has a lot more firms registered outside the United States than within. Delicious, HotJobs, and Overture are just three of a number of companies under Yahoo’s international umbrella.

So who’ll go where next? Facebook seems to be the most popular name mentioned, despite a possible asking price in the $8 billion range. Aside from YouTube, Google seems to favor smaller pickups. Yahoo does too, and was on something of a buying spree in 2006.

Microsoft can just about afford whatever it wants to buy; they look content to build things internally as part of Windows Live rather than buying anything new. Their Soapbox video platform serves as a good example. Their grab of Medstory could be a harbinger of a newfound love for vertical search, and merits further observation.

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Search Engines: Who Owns What
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