Posted by: Rob Hof on October 6, 2006
Big talk today is whether Google will buy the Web video phenom YouTube. On the heels of Mike Arrington’s rumor that Google might buy YouTube, the Journal has someone else saying talks are on. Lots of folks, like Om Malik (“The deal has as much chance of happening as me dropping 40 pounds”), Paul Kedrosky (“The blogosphere has predicted nine of the last three Google acquisitions, so skepticism is highly warranted”), and Carlo at TechDirt (“The evidence still seems a bit flimsy”), aren’t so sure, especially at the $1.6 billion price. Jason Calacanis and Charlene Li, on the other hand, make a case for it.
Given the breathtaking valuations and enthusiasm over everything Web 2.0 today, it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody paid that much for it. As I’ve said, I have to think YouTube can make something of all those video viewings, though whether that means it worth all that, I have no idea. Google? Clearly it’s possible, but it would be quite a departure. It has never paid nearly that much for any acquisition. Even worse, you have to wonder what investors would think about a tacit admission by Google that its thousands of brainiacs couldn’t outmaneuver a 40-person startup.
Between News Corp. gobbling up MySpace (apparently on the cheap, according to one of the founders’ new lawsuit) and Yahoo nibbling at the Facebook hook, it’s sure looking like Web 2.0 could end up getting eaten whole by Web 1.0 and Media 1.0.