Google’s DoubleClick deal under scrutiny

28 Sep 2007

At a hearing before the US Senate’s Judiciary Committee yesterday Google defended its decision to acquire online advertising company DoubleClick for US$3.1bn: a deal which its opponents say is anti-competitive leaving Google with the lion’s share of the online ad market.

According to the New York Times, Microsoft’s legal team said at the hearing that this deal would cause Google to “become the overwhelmingly dominant pipeline for all forms of online advertising”.

A bigger worry, mentioned previously by other opponents to the deal, was the privacy issues involved in the amalgamation of Google’s considerable data banks along with that of DoubleClick.

Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, said that this deal would give Google total control over the world’s largest database of user information.

Ironically, Google itself had called for better global privacy standards earlier this month at a UNESCO conference on ethics in the information society, echoing this sentiment at the hearing by promising to improve its own privacy standards.

While one of the senators at the hearing, who heads an antitrust subcommittee, called the Google/DoubleClick deal one that needed close examination, the acquisition was not outright condemned. However, the judiciary committee cannot block the deal from going through but only report its misgivings to antitrust regulators.

By Marie Boran