With Frommer's purchase, Google poaches a Microsoft partner

With Frommer's purchase, Google poaches a Microsoft partner

Summary: Google's purchase of the popular Frommer's series of travel guides gives it a premium source of information to combine with its search products. It also poaches a partner that exclusively provides data for a featured app in Windows 8.

TOPICS: Google, Microsoft

Google’s transition from a content aggregator to a content creator continued today with the news that the company had purchased the Frommer’s line of travel guides. Frommer’s is a good fit with Zagat, the popular restaurant guide that Google snapped up last year.

The deal also deals a blow to Microsoft, which is prominently featuring Frommer’s content in one of the signature apps installed by default with Windows 8.

The Travel app is visually impressive, with magazine-style collections of images and information about hundreds of destinations worldwide. It’s a great showcase for the “modern” (oops, almost called it Metro!) design style characteristic of Windows 8 apps. so it's no wonder it's also a staple of Windows 8 demos.

But the content is exclusively derived from Frommer’s, and the links to attractions, hotels, and restaurants are all prominently identified as such.


By taking over that information source, Google is giving itself the opportunity to control access to that information, especially the updates that make a web-based service useful. If the content in the Windows 8 Travel app turns stale while the Frommer’s details on Google’s properties are up to date, guess who loses?

Microsoft says a growing part of its strategy involves “cloud-based services used with smart client devices.” This type of content is what provides oxygen to those services. Microsoft is now in the painful position of having to choose: stick with the premium travel information provider that now happens to be owned by its archrival, or switch to a new, possibly inferior supplier. (A Microsoft spokesperson said the company had no comment on the Frommer's deal.)

And that’s the blueprint for the next 10 or 20 acquisitions on Google’s list.

Topics: Google, Microsoft

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  • Cyberwar

    MSFT blocks ads ... Google buys MSFT web source.
    That's one front of the cyberwar.

    I'm provisionally siding with Google and Amazon at present: Apple and MSFT are charging 20-30% for media download.
    • Microsoft doesn't block ads

      If you're referring to DNT being defaulted to on in IE 10, that doesn't have any effect on ads being shown. It simply specified the user's preference that the website not engage in tracking.

      The same is true of tracking protection lists, which block the setting of cookies but do not affect whether ads are shown.

      This is a common confusion. It is encouraged by the tracking industry, which wants you to believe that tracking is essential to serving ads, when it is not.
      Ed Bott
      • @ Ed Bott

        AdBlock plugin blocks ads. While DNT will not as you wrote it right. But having no DNT allows one to target ads based on information obtained by means of cookies placed on user machines through HTTP sessions. DNT prevents this cookie information to be placed from servers not listed in the machine-readable list of DNS names. And this list is supposed to be created and exchanged by means of the DNT HTTP header extension which is now supported by all next releases of browsers excluding Chrome.

        So yes, without DNT, advertising companies and ad publishing companies will lose revenue over time since they lose monitoring abilities. The CPC per ad should go down over time if DNT is widely implemented.
        • why would they lose revenue?

          "So yes, without DNT, advertising companies and ad publishing companies will lose revenue over time since they lose monitoring abilities."

          if everybody looses their monitoring abilities across the board the revenue won't go down. not in the long run, anyway. the advertisers will still have to run their ads they just wont be able to know much about you personally so they will have to rely on other metrics or run more ads, same as on tv
    • 30% is cheap

      compared to the cut brick and mortar stores take and similar to other digital download distributors.
    • Good Lord!

      The amount of ignorance on the internet is astonishing. Probably just another Google loving troll.
  • Interesting word, poach

    It presumes that MS-partners are really vassals, owing permanent loyalty to their "lord".
    John L. Ries
    • No it doesn't

      It's perfectly standard business English, with no strange connotations of the sort you suggest: h t t p : / / dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/business-english/poach
      • The proper meaning is...

        ...illegal hunting; usually on someone else's land (like royal game preserves). By using the word, Ed appears to be implying that what Google is doing is improper; and more specially that Frommer has a duty of loyalty to MS with which Google is likely to interfere.
        John L. Ries
  • 3rd option -switch to a new, possibly supperior supplier

    just a thought.
    William Farrel
    • Who?

      Any idea who that could be?
  • Too bad

    that Microsoft didn't acquire both Zagat and Frommer's instead of aQuantive.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • With Frommer's purchase, Google poaches a Microsoft partner

    Google would be foolish not to update Frommers or discontinue to its service from Microsoft Windows 8. When you think about the millions of eyes that will be reading it that can only benefit both companies. If things do go stale Microsoft could easily remove the app with an update and replace it with something else. Given Google's history of services we'll see Frommers around for another 6 months before Google decides to discontinue the service.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • This is over your head

      Go back to your room before I tell your mommy on you.
      • Actually I have to agree with Loverock

        Google would do well to play ball with Microsoft. There's really not a better choice for a business partner.
  • Not the first time

    This isn't the first time Google has outright bought a company that Partners with Microsoft? Does anybody remember Freebase? They partnered with Microsoft to provide almost all of Bing's instant answers. They still do provide a lot of Bing's instant answers due to the already existing partnership.

    Well, about 6 months after Bing integrated Freebase into everything, Google bought them, and now Freebase is responsible for most of Google's instant answers these days.
  • Not a big deal. If they really were MS partners with a service contract in

    place they'll have to honor it. Either way you can bet MS has contingency plan for other data sources. MS wasnt born yesterday. Im sure they even have contingency plans for if google or apple buys nokia or whoever is manuacturing the surface.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Hey Microsoft!

    Get Lonely Planets. Now.