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Report: Google unworried about Yahoo ad deal's antitrust issue

Google thinks Microsoft acquiring Yahoo raises more antitrust concerns than Yahoo using Google search ads, Reuters reports.

Google thinks antitrust regulators would approve an advertising partnership with Yahoo because the deal isn't exclusive and isn't a merger, Reuters reported Friday.

Google sees the deals as comparable to its partnership with Time Warner's AOL and IAC/InterActiveCorp, both of which use Google's technology to show advertisements, Reuters said, citing a source familiar with the matter.

In addition, the source said, Google thinks Microsoft acquiring Yahoo would be more likely to cause antitrust problems because Microsoft would then corner multiple markets, including Web-based e-mail and instant messaging.

That view is at odds with the opinion of Robert Lande, a professor and antitrust expert at the University of Baltimore School of Law. "It's much more likely that the Yahoo-Google alliance would raise very serious antitrust questions" than the Microsoft acquisition of Yahoo would, he said in an earlier interview.

As part of its effort to fend off Microsoft's attempted acquisition, Yahoo began testing Google's ads on its own search pages. Google's ads generate more revenue per click, so theoretically Yahoo could come out ahead compared with serving its own ads, even if it had to share revenue.

Reuters also reported earlier this week that the Justice Department is questioning Yahoo and Google about the ad deal.