If you rely on Google to drive traffic, but also compete with Google, that puts you in a difficult spot.
Consumers ought to be annoyed too. Google has historically does a good job distinguishing between links that are artificially promoted (ads) and algorithmic rankings. But Google is artificially promoting their own offerings and presenting them as if they're a result of the algorithm.
This seems like a bad strategy. It has the potential to shake user confidence in Google's impartiality and link quality, annoy site maintainers, and drive away advertisers.
We didn't actually have Google Finance until about a year ago. Up until then we were ordering the links based on various published metrics... We had the five top finance sites in their order of their popularity listed there. So we rolled out Google Finance, we put the Google link first.
(You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LT1UFZSbcxE - that quote starts at 44:50.)
Your observation regarding Bing is quite interesting. Your theory may very well be right, but there's a hilarious alternative:
It's known that Microsoft uses Google's rankings (see http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/microsofts-bing-uses-... ). This would then propagate onto Yahoo, which uses Bing's engine, which means that Yahoo is told their own site is less popular. But Yahoo puts their site first, which may mean they're artificially boosting its ranking, under the guidance of you know who!
So 2012 Marissa Mayer may be artificially boosting Yahoo's rank to defeat 2007's Marissa Mayer's artificial boost of Google's rank. Ha!
Marissa was talking about this: http://i.imgur.com/RQhOH.png
And then articulate what is wrong with Google's results.