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Microsoft officially unhappy with Yahoo-Google deal

Nearly 24 hours after the deal is announced, the company finally goes on the record as saying it raises competitive issues.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried

There have been a lot of stories since the Google-Yahoo deal was announced Thursday saying that Microsoft would be mounting a massive campaign to block the deal. But until now, I haven't seen Microsoft itself saying much about the antitrust implications of the actual deal.

After some asking, here's what I got back from Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans. It's not exactly a declaration of war, but clearly Microsoft is not giving the deal its blessing.

"Our position has been clear since April that any deal between these two companies will increase prices for advertisers and start to consolidate more than 90 percent of the search advertising market in Google's hands," Evans said. "Legal and industry experts agree that this would clearly make the market less competitive."

The real question now is which regulatory agencies, if any, take up Microsoft's position, as opposed to that of Google, which posted a blog Thursday saying the deal actually "preserves" competition.

"Quite simply, we think it is good for users, advertisers and publishers," Google Senior Vice President Omid Kordestani said in the blog. "By offering Google's industry-leading technology to Yahoo, the whole system becomes more efficient, and everyone benefits."

Yahoo and Google maintained that they didn't need regulatory OK to start the deal, but they have said they will wait three and a half months to give federal regulators time to "understand" the deal.