Google and Microsoft Take Up Battle Stations

Any antitrust inquiry in an acquisition of Yahoo is likely to be complex and last months, at least.It could be payback time.An expensive legal and political campaign last year by Microsoft helped delay completion of Google’s $3.1 billion bid for the online advertising company DoubleClick. Microsoft filed briefs against the deal in the United States and abroad, testified against it in Congress, and worked with a public relations firm to generate opposition.Now Google is preparing to strike back.With Microsoft bidding nearly $45 billion to buy Yahoo, Google has begun to lay the groundwork to try to delay, and possibly derail, any deal. Google executives have asked company lobbyists to develop a political strategy to challenge the acquisition, which could threaten Google’s dominance of Internet advertising. Google’s top legal officer posted a statement Sunday that criticized the proposed deal.Spokesmen for the two companies in Washington declined to comment Monday about a looming legal and political battle, which has yet to fully emerge and is likely to stay below the radar at least until the control of Yahoo seems clear.Moreover, some antitrust specialists and government officials said Google might tread carefully in opposing any deal since it could backfire., Google Come Out Lobbying
Microsoft has begun lobbying Congress even before its $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo has been accepted, while Google, the real object of Microsoft’s concern, has started to raise objections on Capitol Hill.Top Microsoft executives, including General Counsel Brad Smith and Jack Krumholz, head of the company’s Washington office, contacted the offices of key lawmakers on Friday, one day after the unsolicited bid for Yahoo was announced.The company’s approaches, made by e-mail and phone, were largely informational, according to congressional aides. The executives explained what the bid was and what advantages they saw in its completion. They also said they wanted to come in later to talk about the transaction at greater length, especially in advance of any hearings on the subject.

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