Schmidt: Microhoo would hurt the Net

A look at Microsoft's past business practices suggests that the "openness" on the Web wouldn't be its top priority, Google CEO says.

Richard Defendorf Staff Writer

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Google doesn't want Microsoft to acquire Yahoo.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to Beijing, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that his company "would be concerned by any kind of acquisition of Yahoo by Microsoft," according to a Reuters story published Monday.

Without citing specifics, Schmidt said his observation is based the "things that (Microsoft) has done that have been so difficult for everyone."

He added: "We would hope that anything they did would be consistent with the openness of the Internet, but I doubt it would be."

We can guess he was referring to, among other things, Microsoft's long history of antitrust battles both at home and with the European Union. The latter has continued to fine the software maker. Microsoft's intransigence on licensing prompted another EU fine, for $1.35 billion, just last month.

The irony here is that the EU's approval last week of Google's $3.1 billion purchase of ad services specialist DoubleClick has probably intensified pressure on Yahoo to consider Microsoft's offer. Microsoft's bid was initially valued at $31 a share, although informal talks said to be taking place between the two companies could reshape the terms of the proposed deal.