Microsoft's bid for Yahoo may have been dropped at a meeting in Washington state, but it was lost in Washington, D.C. Google's first word on the prospective deal, from top lawyer David Drummond, was of the cominbation's monopoly in email and instant messaging. That proved the last word, too. By making Yahoo fearful of regulatory scrutiny, Drummond and his lobbyists were able to put steel in Jerry Yang and David Filo's backbones to hold out for a higher price, and demand other conditions besides. The notion that Microsoft might pursue a Yahoo bid and have it nixed, leaving Yahoo incurably weakened, may give Yang and Filo some protection from inevitable shareholder lawsuits. But Google, by keeping Yahoo out of Microsoft's hands, is the real winner.