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Monday, February 4 12:00 AM ET

Google Decides to Exit Internet Business

By Brian Briggs

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Mountain View, CA – After the announcement of a possible merger between Microsoft and Yahoo, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, announced that the search engine giant would be exiting its entire line of Internet businesses.

"I think you're going to be seeing many other Internet companies doing the same, because the combined power of Microsoft and Yahoo will be overwhelming," said Schmidt. "The synergies created by Yahoo Search and Microsoft Live would soon lead them to dominate the market and frighten young children. That's not a world in which Google wishes to compete."

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that indeed Facebook would be considering shuttering its site after hearing the news. Other sites such as CNN.com and Ask.com were also considering shutting down.

Schmidt said that users of Google's online services would have two weeks to download data such as email messages and search histories then they were "pulling the plug."

Schmidt said Google would instead focus on its non-Internet businesses like Google Ponies and Google's line of premium pasta sauces.  "They are not as profitable, but they're a lot more fun.  Who doesn't have fun with ponies?"

To many, Google is the Internet, so the news was devastating.  "I've sold my online soul to Google. The things they know about me, even my best friends don't know.  When they're gone, it'll be like a part of me is missing. It's a nightmare," said Valerie Keenan from Rancho Cucamonga, California. 

It's nothing like the nightmares Schmidt has been having since hearing the news. "In my dreams everywhere I turned I saw the hideous faces of Steve Ballmer and Jerry Yang lording over me. Sergey and Larry were having the same visions.  We decided it was best just to end it now."

Many analysts were confused by the move. "Google would still have a leadership position in many of the Internet segments it competes, especially in the valuable search market," said Frank Stanley from Merrill Lynch.  "I think those guys have been spending too much time on the party plane."

Google's stock was down on the news.

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Ballmer explained Microsoft's strategy, "We're not about dominating markets, we're about eliminating markets for others," he said.

Microsoft has a history of ending products as soon as the competition has been eliminated. Most famously, Microsoft discontinued their graphical "Bob" operating system once competitors from Hasbro and Coleco were eliminated.

Microsoft's stock was up on the news.

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