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Google: "Microsoft's Hostile Bid for Yahoo! Raises Troubling Questions"

Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft to extend unfair practices from browsers and OSes to the Internet?

"Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft...to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet?" That's the question raised today in a statement just posted by Google on the Official Google Blog concerning Microsoft's bid for Yahoo! - posted by David Drummond, Google's Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer.

Title "Yahoo! and the future of the Internet," Drummond's post appeared at 11:45 PST.

"Microsoft's hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions," he writes.  "This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It's about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation."

He then asks a series of three what-if questions:

"Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies -- and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.

Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft -- despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses -- to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet? In addition, Microsoft plus Yahoo! equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts. And between them, the two companies operate the two most heavily trafficked portals on the Internet.

Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors' email, IM, and web-based services? Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions -- and consumers deserve satisfying answers."
"This hostile bid was announced on Friday, so there is plenty of time for these questions to be thoroughly addressed," Drummond notes. 

"We take Internet openness, choice and innovation seriously," his post ends: "They are the core of our culture. We believe that the interests of Internet users come first -- and should come first -- as the merits of this proposed acquisition are examined and alternatives explored."

The openness of the Internet, after all, is what made Google -- and Yahoo! -- possible. So Drummond's concern is Google's and, he suggests, should be taken seriously by us all.

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Most Recent Comments
Ballmer 02/03/08 05:30:11 PM EST

Ballmer himself told analysts in July 2006 that buying Yahoo wouldn't help Microsoft improve its search business, because only Google has a better quality product than Microsoft.

``There's no acquisition path,'' Ballmer said when asked whether Microsoft should make a large purchase.