That’s what Google says in its first (and apparently only) statement on Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo!:
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.
Just as Microsoft has tried to do with Google’s takeover of DoubleClick, Google appears to be trying to argue the anti-trust angle against the hypothetical transaction (
that would seem to be the only angle for Google here). Google philosophically says that it and Yahoo! are more similar vis-a-vis “openness and innovation” than Microsoft, which is impliedly all about the improper use of monopolistic power to stifle innovation.
A bit more from the Wall Street Journal.
How many people think that Google, behind the scenes, would try and help Yahoo! find a “white knight” to rebuff the Microsoft bid? Then again, perhaps not so behind the scenes . . .
And today, more from the NY Times on Google’s effort to “delay” or “derail” the Microsoft bid:
In an unusually aggressive effort to prevent Microsoft from moving forward with its $44.6 billion hostile bid for Yahoo, Google emerged over the weekend with plans to play the role of spoiler.
Publicly, Google came out against the deal, contending in a statement that the pairing, proposed by Microsoft on Friday in the form of a hostile offer, would pose threats to competition that need to be examined by policy makers around the world.
Privately, Google, seeing the potential deal as a direct attack, went much further. Its chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, placed a call to Yahoo’s chief, Jerry Yang, offering the company’s help in fending off Microsoft, possibly in the form of a partnership between the companies, people briefed on the call said.
Google’s lobbyists in Washington have also begun plotting how it might present a case against the transaction to lawmakers, people briefed on the company’s plans said. Google could benefit by simply prolonging a regulatory review until after the next president takes office.