One-up-man-ship: Google, Yahoo and of course Microsoft

After a week on the beaches of the Outer Banks in North Carolina with family I feel refreshed and recharged — perhaps not recharged enough to ride up l’Alpe d’ Huez, but I digress…

During my week away there were a few notable acquisitions made by Microsoft, Yahoo and Google.

First up is MSFT acquisition of my current favorite personal search tool Lookout, which integrates well with Outlook and complements my archive of NewsGator subscriptions nicely.

Perhaps this and the other acquisitions by Yahoo and Google were driven simply by one-up-man-ship.

But in MSFT’s case, I think the purchase of Lookout was partly, as Joel Spolsky nicely put, “one of those “HR Acquisitions,” wherein Microsoft buys a company for a few bucks because it’s the only way to hire someone they want.”

Also, since the personal search promised in Longhorn is still years away (2007?), I suspect Lookout was an easy feature steppingstone.

I expect Lookout will tie into MSN’s new web search shortly as well. This doesn’t bode well for X1 and others in the space.

Additionally, Anil pointed out that Lookout uses a variation of the Apache Jakarta Lucene full-featured text search engine library, which is something I didn’t realize.

Apparently this marks the first time MSFT software is licensed under an Apache license. (Is that really true?)

In other news, Google’s acquisition of photo management software vendor Picasa seems to be another move in Google’s quiet quest of becoming a consumer portal.

I find it intriguing that Google choose a Windows Application Developer and Service Provider (ordering prints). I wonder if Google’s plan is to migrate this “service” into GMail? It seems to be a natural fit.

Lastly, Yahoo’s purchase of the well liked and little known Oddpost Web-based Mail Client seems like a definite knee-jerk reaction to the elegance of Google’s GMail web client.

From what I remember of Oddpost, it certainly gives Outlook 2003 Web Access a run for the money. We’ll see if it can scale to user needs of Yahoo Mail.

Oh yeah, one unrelated final thing…

This year’s Tour de France is again incredible — with Basso as Lance’s new threat and the amazing tenacity of Voeckler! Wow! This is a supersport!

I’m very saddened that Tyler had to dropout. Tyler, you’re still Tyler “Freakin” Hamilton. We’ll see you next year! Regards to Tugboat… he will be missed.