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Feds Looking Into Google Deal...Because of Microsoft?

Anybody with even a feeble sense of irony will have to chuckle at least a little bit at this one: The Federal Trade Commission is looking into the possible antitrust ramifications of Google's proposed purchase of DoubleClick. (This doubles Google's investigation trouble, as the ever-nosy European Union is sniffing around about privacy matters.)

But that's not where the irony comes in. Oh, no. If we're to believe the little hints dropped here and there in the press, one of the main motivating factors behind the FTC's extended probe might very well have been a significant amount of complaining by...Microsoft.

That's right. The convicted monopolist and losing bidder for DoubleClick might have actually spurred the government to look into somebody else's potentially monopolistic practices. We have to say, though, that we don’t really see Microsoft’s point here (if it did complain to the feds), especially given that Redmond surely believes that its recent acquisition of aQuantive will set up some sort of competition for a Google-DoubleClick combo.

Or maybe it just shows how desperate Microsoft is to catch Google in online advertising, a market in which the relative newcomer from California has been eating Redmond's lunch. In any case, as much as we've defended Microsoft's business practices here in the past, it is pretty funny to hear the pickpocket complain about being robbed and see the cops spring into action -- metaphorically speaking, of course.

What's your take on Microsoft complaining about somebody else's potential antitrust violations? Drop me a line at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on May 30, 2007 at 11:54 AM