Microsoft and Yahoo were pushed to the brink of a multibillion-dollar marriage and then to a sudden breakup this weekend by the same player.
A combined Microsoft-Yahoo would create a powerful competitor, and Google early on indicated that it would fight the merger on antitrust grounds in Washington and Brussels.
But Google played a part in killing the deal, for now at least, by acting more as friend than foe. It offered to let Yahoo use its more sophisticated search advertising technology, which by some estimates would have meant $1 billion in additional cash flow a year for Yahoo. The partnership would also bring Google more revenue.