Barry Diller Surrenders to Googlers Who Dissed Him

Ask Jeeves has been dismissed from the search business. The virtual internet butler can at least share his shame with overlord Barry Diller, who is surrendering to a company that treated him little better than a servant.

In a meeting once with Diller, Google co-founder Larry Page couldn't be bothered to look up from his PDA the entire time, according to a story Diller recounted for the New Yorker. "Is this boring?" Diller asked. "No," said Page — without nudging his glance upward one degree. Diller: ""Well, you can't do this. Choose... I left thinking that more than most people they were wildly self-possessed." Read: Arrogant.

Oh, well: Diller's IAC lieutenant Doug Leeds now all but admits that Ask.com née Ask Jeeves was a $1.85 billion exercise in futility, telling Bloomberg that Google is "this huge juggernaut of a company that we really thought we could compete against" — but couldn't. Ask.com will outsource search results to another company and focus on a Q&A section of the site. Or "fade away" as one analyst puts it to Bloomberg. Sixty-eight year-old Diller, presumably, plans to remain more spry than his online manservant.