The New York Times reports that About is now for sale, and that no less than four search related companies are among the final bidders: AOL, Google, Yahoo! and Ask Jeeves. If anyone doubts the victory of the portal concept, this should prove that the search engines, at least, want to become broad based content providers. Ask Jeeves’ interest in About is probably part of a larger strategy of expansion. Indeed, Steve Berkowitz, the CEO of Ask Jeeves Inc., has stated that the company’s strategy is to “build or acquire differentiated, next-generation and best-in-class information products or technologies.”
As this unfolds we will see who has placed a priority on growing and expanding. Second, Google and Yahoo’s reaction to other bids will indicate to us how threatened they are feeling in today’s search market.