But it's not the real story.
The real story is Google is consolidating control of the online space, a theme that unites most of the day's big Internet stories.
Google is the Internet's sole superpower.The strength of Google does not lie in its executives -- both Mayer and de Castro came from Google. It lies in Google's infrastructure, which cloud analytics firm Deepfield estimated last year now handles one-quarter of the Internet's entire traffic. Thus, when Google decides to do something, such as buying Nest (which its Google Ventures had backed) for $3.2 billion, an "Internet of Things" that once seemed trivial suddenly becomes very real. When Google chooses not to do something, such as local news, nothing a competitor tries will succeed -- as AOL (AOL) has proven with its Patch sites, which it passed on to the "special situations" experts Hale Global in a joint venture. Google's power may be behind the muted response to the U.S. Court of Appeals' ruling against net neutrality. Even if cable and phone carriers try to strangle Internet content and charging it for carriage, Google Fiber -- and Google's vast fiber network -- can stand against it. It's an example of what Larry Lessig called "West Coast Law" -- rules encoded in software and enforced through hardware trumping the East Coast Law written by policymakers. The problem at Yahoo! is not that its executives can't execute. It's that they lack the scale and infrastructure to compete. Yahoo!'s display ad business competes directly with Google's own ad business and can't handle the continual price erosion of online advertising's increased scale -- scale Google creates daily.
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