Microsoft Silently Urges EU to Unbundle Google AdSense
Oh, they must be fighting back tears of laughter up in Redmond today. After subjecting Microsoft’s business practices to years of legal review, Europe’s antitrust regulators have turned their withering attentions to Google.
Yesterday, the European Commission refused to approve Google’s proposed $3.1 billion acquisition of online-ad company DoubleClick, opting instead to subject it to a full-scale review. “The [commission] will, in particular, investigate whether without this transaction, DoubleClick would have grown into an effective competitor of Google in the market for online-ad intermediation,” the EC said in a statement. “It will also investigate whether the merger … could lead to anticompetitive restrictions for competitors operating in these markets and thus harm consumers.”
News of the extended inquiry, which will conclude April 2, comes amid increased scrutiny of the DoubleClick deal in the U.S., where Microsoft, Microsoft-sponsored industry groups and other Google rivals have expressed concerns that the acquisition would give Google a stranglehold over the $40.6 billion global online-advertising market.
Suffice to say, Google wasn’t at all happy to hear it’s facing another four months of regulatory purgatory. “We are obviously disappointed by the European Commission’s decision to extend its review of our acquisition of DoubleClick,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement. “We seek to avoid further delays that might put us at a disadvantage in competing fully against Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and others whose acquisitions in the highly competitive online-advertising market have already been approved.”