Posted May 29, 2007 10:35 am by with 5 comments

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The Federal Trade Commission has decided to investigate whether Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick opens up any antitrust issues, according to the NYT.

The inquiry began at the end of last week…[t]his step, known as a “second request” for information, can suggest that a proposed acquisition raises more serious antitrust issues. But legal experts said the request is mainly a sign that the agency is closely scrutinizing the Google deal….Still, privacy issues are not typically the concern of antitrust officials. In reviewing a proposed merger, legal experts say, regulators weigh the likely impact on competition and struggle with tricky technical matters like defining the relevant market to measure.

As we reported a few weeks back, it was highly likely an FTC investigation was coming and is often the norm for acquisitions of this size.

The question that also needs asking is, did MSFT shoot itself in the foot, when it started pressuring regulators to investigate the Google deal? At the time, it benefited MSFT to have Google investigated – it’s a big distraction and also raises eyebrows from the general public – but can the company stuff the worms back into the can, now that it has announced its own mega-acquisition of aQuantive?

Surely, if the FTC is investigating Google – a company that is still the darling of the tech world – won’t it also jump on the chance to, once again, give Microsoft some scrutiny?

  • What are the odds that anything comes out of this investigation? I mean seriously do we think the FCC will stop the purchase?

    Maybe I’m wrong but it seems to me that Google has gone from darling to juggernaut that no one will touch mighty quickly and the longer the government delays, the less likely it seems that they will do anything about the giant G.

  • I’m pretty sure it will go thru. I do wonder if the FTC will care about the conflict of interest that comes from owning an SEM firm.

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  • I don’t know much about anit-trust laws, but if this hits the news enough times, the tech world will begin to look at Google in a new light. (I think most are already getting a little soured on the giant.)

    It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

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