Senator wants regulators to better examine Google/DoubleClick merger

Microsoft seems to be making some headway in its mission to stop the Google/DoubleClick merger. At a senate hearing on Thursday, Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., chairman of an antitrust subcommittee, said that the merger ""warrants close examination," reports the AP. But he also back-peddled shortly thereafter by making it clear that he was not actually opposing the merger. On the other hand Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. seems ok with the promises Google made to address privacy concerns - and also that Google said the deal would create jobs in New York.

A lawyer for Microsoft reiterated its complaints that the merger is bad news because it would give Google "sole control over the largest database of user information the world has ever known," the story says.

Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, said there was a "certain irony" to Microsoft's complaints. The software giant remains subject to the terms of a five-year antitrust settlement it reached with the U.S. government in 2002, and the company lost an appeal of a European Union antitrust case earlier this month.

Dow Jones MarketWatch blogger John Dvorak has an interesting blog post on the Senate hearings. He writes:

"Listening to Microsoft Corp. moan to Congress about how Google Inc. is going to corner the market on advertising because of its proposed DoubleClick acquisition is a ludicrous exercise."

Still, he tends to think Microsoft is right.

"Nobody knows what Google will do with all this accumulated data, but one can assume that eventually law enforcement and the IRS will get their hands on it, no matter what the "Don't be evil" company says. It also will be useful for the purposes of microtargeted and tailored advertising, the holy grail of the ad business."

Meanwhile ex-Microsoft employee and current Microsoft Subnet author-expert blogger Kerrie Meyler also has an interesting take on the Microsoft's antitrust woes . She thinks the government involvement is getting overblown, with the EU's fine against Microsoft the case in point. (Though she thinks the investigation of Google/Doubleclick falls into similar dangerous territory.)

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