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.