Shakespeareian parallels abound for the now apparently closed dealmaking between AOL and suitors Microsoft and Google. Through its checkmate move to gain the AOL turf, Google seems to have acquired an ambition-driven red spot that may not easily come out.
Microsoft appears quite French, as at 1415 Agincourt, and must be wondering what sort of starry fate favors its enemies when the odds seem so clearly to favor the Dogs of Redmond. Ah, but there will be another battle, another day ... foreshadowing a Microsoft return to its Richard III capacities albeit hobbled by the searing lesions of its anti-trust baggage.
What to make of Google's apparent vigorish to AOL? Is this a Shylock's dilemma, whereby the obsession-driven victory -- and required AOL-embossed favoritism blotting the once-pure Googleian interface, a now torn tapestry of virtue -- converts to failure via the inevitable and associated cost of one drop of algorithmic purity?
Et tu, Google?
Sure, for about six minutes we can mourn Google's fall from grace, its exit from the garden, its paradise lost. Google was a virgin like Madonna. And in minute seven we can thank our lucky stars, welcome the witches brew that set Google into its ambition beyond Cawdor, and hoist a Falstaffian toast that the AOL deal went the way it did, though I did have my doubts.
The quid pro quo of Google's expected pending AOL transgressions comes in return for creating the greatest tag-team the ad-supported Web has ever known. Think of AOL-Google as Henry V and Othello on the same team, pounding out the next contextual ad business model upset, streaming out market leadership and everyman empathy with the throngs of media buyers in adoration; the institutional investors lining up to embark on the next invasion and victory of above S&P 500 returns.
May we hope that Google provides the Internet insight that Time Warner needs, the Silicon Valley tail that wags the New York City dog. Microsoft would have been Iago in Time Warner's ear. Google can be Mercutio, offering light-hearted wisdom as if from an innocent youth but from experience too. And it does not have to be a tragedy.
This was a battle that both Google and Microsoft had to win. Had to win. Google's victory matters far more than any compromises to its credo, whatever that was. Microsoft can paint this any way it wants, but it is a huge blow to Microsoft's search- and portal-based income comeuppance quest.
Smoke smolders at dawn from the field at Agincourt. The king is dead. Long live the kings.