Congratulations Google, You're the New Microsoft
Google abandoned [its deal with Yahoo] not because pressing ahead with it ‘risked’ a protracted legal battle, but because it guaranteed one.”
I wrote that on Nov. 6, following the official dissolution of Google’s (GOOG) proposed advertising partnership with Yahoo (YHOO). Turns out the guarantee to which I referred was an ironclad one. Sanford Litvack, the attorney who would have been lead counsel in the event of a government antitrust case against Google, tells American Lawyer Daily that the Department of Justice was literally hours away from suing the company when it bailed on the deal. “We were going to file the complaint at a certain time during the day,” he explains. “We told them we were going to file the complaint at that time of day. Three hours before, they told us they were abandoning the agreement.”
Had Google not turned tail, the DOJ would have charged it with violating Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. Said Litvack, “It would have ended up also alleging that Google had a monopoly and that [the advertising pact] would have furthered their monopoly.”
As I wrote back in November, “Internet search advertising and Internet search syndication are natural monopoly businesses. And, according to the DOJ, Google is their presiding monopolist.” Truer words, eh?