Well, last night the Google-YouTube matchup was just a rumour posted by Mike Arrington at TechCrunch, and plenty of people were poo-poohing it — if only because TechCrunch can occasionally be, er… somewhat promotional, if you know what I mean. But now the Wall Street Journal, a publication not known for rushing into print with unsubstantiated rumours, is reporting that the two companies are in talks about an acquisition that could be worth $1.6-billion (U.S.).
The newspaper said that the “discussions are still at a sensitive stage and could well break off,” which is newspaper lingo for “don’t hold it against us if this big scoop turns out not to be true.” And TechCrunch even gets props for breaking the news in the second paragraph of the WSJ story — I bet that page gets framed or laminated and is hanging on Mike’s wall within the hour.
Russell Shaw is saying he told us so, and even my friend Paul Kedrosky thinks the deal makes a lot of sense (although I don’t think GooTube is really a great name, marketing-wise). Jason Calacanis also has a breakdown of why such an acquisition would make “perfect sense.”
So here’s what I’d like to know: what does YouTube’s biggest fan, “Megaphone Mark” Cuban think about this potential deal? I assume it means that Larry Page and Sergey Brin are morons, since Mark seemed to think only an idiot would buy YouTube because of all the copyright liabilities involved.
It’s possible that the talks are not going to result in anything, or that the rumours are coming from YouTube and are an attempt to start a bidding war, as Cynthia Brumfield of IPDemocracy suspects, but if a deal is done I would be very interested to see what Mark’s take on it is after he dissed the company so badly.
Webomatica posted a link in my comments section to a post by Jeff Jarvis from the Online News Association conference (which I had hoped to go to), where Mark Cuban was the keynote speaker. He passed on the news of the WSJ story and the presenter asked Cuban about it, and his response was pretty much what you might expect: Google would be stupid to buy YouTube, and if they did they would wreck it because they would have to remove all the copyrighted stuff. Charlene Li at Forrester has some thoughts about the value of a merger too.
Mark Cuban has posted his thoughts about whether Google would be stupid to buy YouTube. No surprise — he thinks “moronic would be an understatement.” However, he does think it would make sense for Google to do some kind of ad deal with YouTube.