Congress to examine Microsoft-Yahoo plans on Feb. 8

Yahoo hasn't even accepted Redmond's $44.6 billion offer yet, but House antitrust task force is already planning a hearing to probe the prospective deal.

There's nothing like a proposed multibillion-dollar melding of two high-profile corporations to perk up politicos on Capitol Hill.

Just hours after Microsoft revealed its $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo, Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chairmen of the U.S. House of Representatives' influential Judiciary Committee, said they're planning a hearing in the House Antitrust Task Force on February 8 to examine "whether this proposed consolidation works to further or undermine the fundamental principles of a competitive Internet." The task force is a subset of the Judiciary Committee. There's no word yet on who will end up testifying.

"Microsoft's bid to acquire Yahoo is certainly one of the largest technology mergers we've seen and presents important issues regarding the competitive landscape of the Internet," the two members said in a statement.

Over on the Senate side, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), who leads that chamber's antitrust panel, said on Friday that he also plans to hold hearings "should Yahoo accept Microsoft's offer."

The House committee has dubbed the hearing "The State of Competition on the Internet," suggesting it'll cover topics outside Microsoft-Yahoo territory, which perhaps is wise: After all, Yahoo hasn't even said "yes" yet.

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    Anne Broache
    covers Capitol Hill goings-on and technology policy from Washington, D.C.
     

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