Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Justice Department Googles Google?


Calling Dick Tracy! Guess what the U.S. Department of Justice noticed yesterday?

Google is really, really big and powerful.

Thus, the Feds are casting a gimlet eye on an online ad partnership Google (GOOG) is considering with Yahoo (YHOO), which is trying to goose its value in the face of an unwelcome takeover bid from the last century’s monopolist Microsoft (MSFT).

It was widely reported yesterday that the Justice Department was looking into the recent outsourcing ad sales test by the search giant and No. 2 Yahoo, to see if it squares with antitrust law.

According to both Yahoo and Google, they lobbed in a call to regulators in advance of starting the test of a possible partnership, just to give them a heads-up, so this look-see was fully expected.

How nice that the two dominant companies, whose share together closes in on 80% of the market in search, can police themselves.

Is everyone relieved? We thought not.

While BoomTown has now moved on to figuring out if Google will become self-aware in 2012 and begin building Terminators to take out the future leaders of the human race, we would like to reiterate what we noted in a previous post:

And while it might be a long-cherished dream of Google’s to take over Yahoo search–and also get the chance to return to the scene of the crime, since Google got its first big push from doing Yahoo search, before Yahoo wised up too late–there is simply no way this will be allowed by regulators nor should it.

Still, you have to almost admire the chutzpah of the search giant in making this move, if the sheer and unadulterated arrogance of it wasn’t so distracting.

Because, while Google has almost none of the obvious menacing aggression that characterized Microsoft when it thoroughly dominated tech (although all those beach bikes on its campus inexplicably creep me out a little bit), the company still cannot be allowed to have a monopolistic share of the market.

It is bad for advertisers, it is bad for consumers, it is bad for innovation, no matter how well-intentioned Google is.

And no matter how many flashy moves Google and Yahoo make, it is flat-out wrong for one player to so dominate such an important sector.”

And whether the Feds decide if a union between Google and Yahoo is legal or not, let me repeat: It is dangerous and anticompetitive.

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle