Yesterday came news that Google has struck a major deal with Intuit. Today comes news Yahoo has struck a deal with Acer. Both are distribution deals – Yahoo and Google are using their partners as channels to get their software and services into the hands of customers. In short, they are buying new business.
So what are they distributing? That’s where it gets interesting. In Google’s case, the deal with Intuit gets AdWords in from of small businesses and encourages those traditional Yellow Pages customers to try Google instead. And of course, the deal includes Google Desktop and Maps integration.
But perhaps the least reported portion of this deal is the fact that QuickBooks also purchased StepUp, a small SF-based firm that helps local businesses get their inventory into search engines. In short, StepUp is the automation software needed to virtualize all that small business inventory and make it easily consumed, and therefore searchable, in Google Base, Froogle, and the main Google index.
If you recall my scenario about the transparent shopping society, this is one significant component in getting us there.
Yahoo’s deal with Acer is a bit more mundane. It’s Yahoo toolbar pre-installed, and setting Yahoo as the default search engine at the factory. This is good for the company, but it’s the kind of deal Google was cutting nearly two years ago. The difference here is YPN – with no play to speak of yet, Yahoo can’t compete with Google for deals like Intuit. Yet….