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Posted
3 February 2008 @ 1pm

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Google calls out Microsoft/Yahoo! deal – Is Google scared?

Google just issued a statement about Microsoft’s bid to buy Yahoo! The basic tone is rather aggressive (maybe even paranoid?):

The openness of the Internet is what made Google — and Yahoo! — possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It’s what makes the Internet such an exciting place.

So Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. 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.

Google is arguing that a combined MS and Yahoo! could exert “the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC.”

Specifically, Google calls out the monopoly the combined company would have in instant messaging, web email market, and portals.

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.

I find it interesting that Google would release such a strong statement. If any one company has shown that monopolies are very fluid and don’t mean much on the net, it is Google itself. It has successfully launched itself from zero to a big player in the search, web mail, IM and portal market, all of which were dominated by a major player when Google launched its products. And Google itself holds a bit of a monopoly on online search and the ever growing Internet advertising market…

Update: looks like Duncan Riley over at TechCrunch is taking a similar view.

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