Texas Republican Congressman and Google critic Joe Barton wants more information about the proposed paid-search deal between Google and Yahoo. Dissatisfied with Yahoo’s responses to his questions to date, Barton has asked the US Department of Justice to “thoroughly investigate issues of competition and privacy that Yahoo failed to address fully.” He is concerned about Google developing “an effective monopoly” in paid search.
If you’re having a sense of deja vu, it’s probably because all this sounds very much like a rerun of Barton’s public pronouncements in scrutinizing the Google-DoubleClick deal last year. However, with this Google-Yahoo paid search agreement, Barton is joined by a range of others who fear the impact on the competitive landscape of search marketing.
In this somewhat more hostile political climate for Google, it would be interesting to consider whether the DoubleClick acquisition would have been tougher sell if it had been announced today. Of course there’s no way to determine that.
There’s a strong chance that regulators will not allow the Google-Yahoo search deal; indeed this is the emerging conventional wisdom. That conventional wisdom is cited over at Silicon Alley Insider in bringing up the possibility of another potential search-oriented deal between Yahoo and Microsoft. SAI claims that “Yahoo board members are reportedly reaching out to Microsoft to try to restart these talks.” The phrase “these talks” refers to the previously rejected Microsoft offer to buy Yahoo’s search business.
In the recent past Microsoft has given mixed messages about whether it’s still open to a deal with Yahoo of any sort (read: yes).