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Justice Dept To Investigate Google-Yahoo Deal

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-surprise-here dept.

United States 105

Anonymous Oddity writes "The Washington Post is reporting that the Justice Department's investigating the Yahoo-Google advertising deal. Obviously the deal controls a massive portion of the internet advertising market. US Antitrust law isn't entirely intuitive, but it does tend to frown on large deals between companies that operate on the same level if those deals can be interpreted as restrictive of trade."

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idiots (0, Flamebait)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028591)

Why don't they study the Bush-Cheney presidencies, instead?

Jews - A Bloody and Manipulative People (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24029095)

The Bush administration is beholden to the violent and deceitful Jews that control his mind.

Jews have gained amazing control of this bofoon and will use him for their bloody agenda of murder and theft.

Israel is a nation of murderers and theivs, a nation of Jews.

Re:Jews - A Bloody and Manipulative People (-1, Offtopic)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029969)

You're obviously quite the anti-semite.

I'm a grammar Nazi pointing out that you misspelled "thieves".

This post brought to you by Slashdot's Irony Department.

Re:Jews - A Bloody and Manipulative People (-1, Offtopic)

c0p0n (770852) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030057)

Ding! Nazi! End of discussion! Blimey, that was quick...

Taxdollars wasted... (3, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028611)

Considering that both these companies are publicly traded, I think it is more important for those who are investors to consider what is best for them. If the general public thinks it might be hampered by consolidation of two large competitors, than the public should invest en masse and vote against it.

I've always been confused how publicly traded companies can be considered "monopolies" in any situation except where your governments regulate them into becoming monopolies. If you don't like how a company acts, buy some stock and get your friends and family and cohorts to do the same, then go in and work to change it.

Owning a share is owning a voting right, albeit a tiny sliver minority share. But if you want to change things, do it from within, not from outside.

Yahoo is still profitable, but they're losing market share. Why? Because Google does a better job providing their users with services they want. Duh. If Yahoo can't compete, then it's time for liquidation. There are still thousands of search engines out there, so competition will work its magic.

IBM was the monopoly, but they were chopped down by Compaq. Compaq was the monopoly, and they were chopped down by Microsoft. Microsoft was the monopoly, and they were chopped down by Google. Google's the monopoly, and they'll be chopped down by the next 18 year old college drop out startup that implants a realtime search engine in your sunglasses.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (2, Insightful)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028741)

Because most people don't have the millions of dollars needed to buy enough shares to make a difference. And if they did, then they'd buy the shares and not vote to change anything because they would stand to benefit in the form of increased share value.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028855)

Because most people don't have the millions of dollars needed to buy enough shares to make a difference. And if they did, then they'd buy the shares and not vote to change anything because they would stand to benefit in the form of increased share value.

So you just proved my point!

If millions of people felt they were harmed in any way, what is the problem with each of them putting up $100 or $500 to control the so-called monopoly? Let's say that 50 million Americans would feel harmed by a merger. Let's say that each of them would, on average, feel harm to the tune of $1000 over 5 years. Let them take $1000, and each buy some stock together as the "We're going to keep Google from harming us" group. That's $50 billion, probably enough to get a decent say in a voting direction. Problem solved.

If millions of people don't see any harm, then Google has done nothing wrong. Government has to do NOTHING. The market works like it does because millions, billions of people each make completely unique and individual decisions hundreds of times a day. Together it makes a difference, but no single person can by themselves.

Don't like your local Starbucks? If you stop going, it means ZERO. If millions stop going, it harms them completely.

Heck, you can even beat down Google if you want by not using their search engine, blocking only THEIR ads, and staying away from their subsidiaries (blogspot, etc).

There's no need for government intervention. If people are harmed, they have the option to fix it, right there in front of them.

Oh, and if the harm is worth less than the cost to buy in, then it isn't a big harm, is it?

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (2, Interesting)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028897)

If millions of people felt they were harmed in any way, what is the problem with each of them putting up $100 or $500

To millions of people even $50 is a lot of money. Your utopia sounds great, but in reality it's not that black and white.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

Talrinys (888624) | more than 6 years ago | (#24035811)

In which case simply stopping support of the products/services from the company in question would be a much more efficient way of doing it. Everyone boycot Google and watch how their investors see things in 6 months, that's the real power of an individual in a capitalistic society.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24036609)

Unfortunately, in the US it often is a black and white issue.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24029281)

If millions of people don't see any harm, then Google has done nothing wrong.

Wow, I'm nearly speechless at how to respond to this. So we shouldn't address any problem (or potential problem) until it starts affecting millions of people? I doubt there are even "millions" of people who are aware of and can consider the implications of a merger between Google and Yahoo- to the vast majority of people Google and Yahoo are simply websites that they visit to do a search or check their e-mail, they probably have not given much thought to the long-term consequences of a merger between Google and Yahoo. If such a merger developed into a monopoly and started causing grief for millions of people, it would be a lot more difficult to deal with it at that point, then to deal with it now.

Government exists (for good or for bad) because it's not possible for every person to be fully-informed and fully-involved in every decision that is made. One thing that our history teaches us is that people who are not immediately affected by a problem tend not to commit to trying to solve the problem. I'm sorry, I don't want to be one of the people that is being pillaged while the millions are eating Cheerios- unaware and unconcerned.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (2, Interesting)

Stook (1270928) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030755)

If you can get 50 million Americans to rally behind a single cause with $100-$500, you sir could either A) Take the $5-25 billion and start your own company or buy several countries; B) Rig the next election (only 62 million people voted) or C) All of the above.

The fact of the matter is that it would be easier to get a job and work your way up corporate ladder than to for the average Joe to buy shares and change the system. Aside from the cost it would take just in logistics for that individual, or coordinating group, once there, they're still going to be faced with other million/billionaires with controlling stake in the company. Aside from that, if the company has any brains at all, they'll own a majority share of the stock so even if you do convince all the other stockholders to see your point of view, they can still follow their own interests.

I would propose rather, that if you want to change a company, either start a competitor, become employed at the company, file a valid lawsuit or take your business elsewhere.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 6 years ago | (#24031883)

Organization is a non-trivial obstacle to leveraging money. The cost of organizing is another cost on top of the money used for leverage(people have jobs to do while they're monopoly busting). Also, the justice dept is investigating. This is because it's not immediately obvious that anything needs to be done. How many individuals have the time and money to conduct individual investigations into the google-yahoo deal? Would they even be given any access?

The government uses a similar foundation and a different approach. It takes money from the same millions, and instead of giving millions of dollars to the business which had misbehaved to the point of attracting ire, it uses those millions to collect enough physical force to tell the business to stop, and can reuse that same physical force to tell another business to stop. Unfortunately, the government might also reuse/misuse that same physical force to go overseas.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#24031933)

I doubt 'people' would be harmed - most people would be quite happy to no longer be getting adverts because the costs are becoming prohibitive to businesses. Presumably it would be the businesses themselves that are harmed when google can change its ad prices to anything it wants because of a monopoly position. If I don't like a company's ethics, I'm not going to buy any of its shared shares - I think that would help them much more than harm them, unless as you say millions of people do the same thing and vote against whatever evil they see happening. But again that surely just benefits the creators of the company due to massively inflated share prices. You don't want to be rewarding those guys for being jerks otherwise they'll just go out and do the same thing over again.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028747)

Only three people have voting rights in Google. Larry, Sergey, and Eric.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

arctanx (1187415) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028873)

And even then, things only happen if Larry and Sergey say jump.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (5, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028841)

I've always been confused how publicly traded companies can be considered "monopolies" in any situation except where your governments regulate them into becoming monopolies. If you don't like how a company acts, buy some stock and get your friends and family and cohorts to do the same, then go in and work to change it.

Just because a company is publicly traded, that doesn't excuse them from monopolistic practices, sir.

Nobody I know -- even die-hard Windows fans -- likes how Microsoft acts in the business world. That doesn't stop them from buying their products, though.

None of the people I know who trade stocks trade based on the ethics of a company, either. All of them care only about shareholder value and potential shareholder value. It's all about the dinero.

The problem you have, Mr. Dada, is that you tend to assume that people care about how a company acts enough to influence their choices. But people choose based on what's best for their own livelihood (as well they should). They also don't often choose what's best for their own livelihood in the long run, but tend to look at the short-term. And in the short-term, companies maintaining a monopoly always seem to have the most shareholder value.

And, in the end, public shareholder don't always get a vote anyway. Most of the voting shares of Google are held by Sergei and Larry and guys like that. All the rest of the shareholders don't get much of a say.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (2, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029703)

The problem you have, Mr. Dada, is that you tend to assume that people care about how a company acts enough to influence their choices. But people choose based on what's best for their own livelihood (as well they should).

At the risk of sounding like a Birkenstock-wearing politically-correct social activist, I'd suggest that while that may a fair generalisation, it smacks of an orthodoxy that has its popularity and appeal founded in a comforting but simplistic view of the world.

I don't shop at Walmart, my food comes mostly from local organic farmers, I donate to animal shelters, and I offer political support to those who see and are willing to act beyond my own (or someone else's) immediate concerns or preferences. That applies to the proverbial pocketbook type issues as it does to things of a more general nature. I do not, however, wear Birkenstocks, stay as far away as possible from activists of any persuasion, and consider myself as very ordinary.

Doing the right thing, at least in principle, was something that we expected of ourselves and each other before we allowed ourselves to be redefined as self-interested mindless consumers, and selfishness was elevated to a virtue.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030309)

I don't shop at Walmart, my food comes mostly from local organic farmers

Sure about that? If you shop at, say Whole Foods Market, for instance, most of the organic produce they sell is produced by Big Agra, not local farms.

As for Walmart, while I don't like some of their business practices, some of their other business practices are actually okay. For example, they have very good non-discriminatory hiring practices in place and they give lots of money to community non-profit organizations and schools and support higher education through scholarships. So they're not all bad. But, in the end, Walmart has the lowest prices on most of the stuff I buy, so I shop at Walmart -- mostly because it helps me save money so that I can afford to do things like donate to those charitable organizations you mention.

In the end, we all our make choices. Unfortunately, most Americans aren't as smart, intelligent or well-educated as you and I, and they don't care about anything but themselves.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033537)

Sure about that? If you shop at, say Whole Foods Market, for instance, most of the organic produce they sell is produced by Big Agra, not local farms.

No, I buy most everything at Farmer's Markets. And then I tend to buy from the vendors I get to know, which is pretty easy given that most people there are more than happy to talk about what they do and how they do it.

As for Walmart, well, that's a big issue. My only point is that the price of something is, at least for me, never the deciding factor in a purchase. Ruling out Walmart is as much a nobrainer as buying shit from people who have nothing to do with what they're selling you, and thus, aren't accountable.

In the end, we all our make choices. Unfortunately, most Americans aren't as smart, intelligent or well-educated as you and I, and they don't care about anything but themselves.

Thanks for the compliment, but like I said, I'm an ordinary person, and the principles behind my approach are no less so. If it's the triumph of optimism over experience that I believe even a harried Soccer mom who clips coupons in her spare time would stop shopping at Walmart after, for example, watching a documentary on the subject, then so be it.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030495)

Here, I'll get this one.

The problem you have, Mr. Dada, is that you tend to assume that people care about how a company acts enough to influence their choices. But people choose based on what's best for their own livelihood (as well they should).

At the risk of sounding like a Birkenstock-wearing politically-correct social activist, I'd suggest that while that may a fair generalisation, it smacks of an orthodoxy that has its popularity and appeal founded in a comforting but simplistic view of the world.

Actually, you just sound like an idiot who stopped reading when you became incensed. Here's the part you should have read:

But people choose based on what's best for their own livelihood (as well they should). They also don't often choose what's best for their own livelihood in the long run, but tend to look at the short-term.

What the comment to which you replied was saying is that people tend to focus on their short-term livelihood. It didn't say that this was positive. It simply didn't choose to take a whiny, "Birkenstock-wearing politically-correct" stance. In fact, it appears to subtly decry the practice of "getting yours" without actually directly addressing the issue.

For all its failings, English is an incredibly powerful language when used correctly, as in this case. Unfortunately, you either "went off half-cocked" or simply FAIL(ed) IT.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033981)

Actually, you just sound like an idiot who stopped reading when you became incensed.

What I did was was make a comment with respect to the often repeated statement that people act in an entirely selfish manner, a mantra that, if the popular press is any indication, is taken as gospel.

If calling that socio-economic theory into question (by providing a data point of one) is viewed by you as "not addressing the issue", "idiotic", "half-cocked", and written by someone who "failed" English and was "incensed", then I'd suggest you get some fresh air. Maybe take the dog for a walk.

You can use that time to consider how your own use of the English language contributes nothing of value to this or any other discussion. Or is being civil and making a coherent point too much to ask?

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24034883)

http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/05/28/101-being-offended/
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/03/48-whole-foods-and-grocery-co-ops/
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/01/23/18-awareness/

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24035297)

The only rationale for your post that I can see is that you wanted to show everyone what a great person you are compared to everyone else. Don't you have a myspace you can post this crap on or something?

What was the point of your post? A wish that people were more like you? me too!!!!!one!!

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

merc (115854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24031417)

The problem you have, Mr. Dada, is that you tend to assume that people care about how a company acts enough to influence their choices.

I was going to say "That's Mr. Dada to you", but you already had that covered.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

Wister285 (185087) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028937)

While I do partially share your share your view of publicly held companies, I think you are too romantic. Cash is king on the Street and dictates just about everything, including voting rights. Most companies are held by institutional investors. They don't care about Google or Yahoo!. They care about GOOG and YHOO. When they make their buck, they move on. It's their fiduciary responsibility.

I think this is probably the greatest aspect and most tragic flaw of the Street. It's also why the market can be so fun and so painful all at the same time!

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029117)

I think this is probably the greatest aspect and most tragic flaw of the Street. It's also why the market can be so fun and so painful all at the same time!

And what makes a stock jump or fall?

Let's look at General Motors... For decades they were booming in stock price. Why? Because individual consumers such as yourself went out and bought their merchandise. Sales of vehicles were up -- but not because you, a GM buyer, saw they had a high stock price. You bought their vehicle for decades because you liked what you drove. The investors said "The lonesome, tiny, poor consumer likes this product, I will invest my money." You, the individual, made that decision for the investor.

Now, GM is tanking. Why? You, the small, unimportant, ignored consumer decided to skip GM this year and maybe buy a Toyota hybrid. The big, bad, ugly and evil investor said "Crap, that tiny unimportant ugly and fat consumer decided not to buy GM, I better sell my stock!"

So the market is NOT about who owns YHOO or GOOG, it is about what the consumer wants and what they are putting their time or money towards.

Google stock can be manipulated by the consumer, just as Pets.com did or Novell, too. Just stop using the product. You don't have to go on a public boycott: find a better product, use it, and tell your friends to use it. I gave you an option to restrain Google: block only their ads, use another search engine, and stop using their subsidiary products.

I personally love Google products and hate Yahoo. Yahoo feels like Geocities to me. Google is fluid, easy to use, and gives me what I want. I'd love to see Google buy Yahoo, can their product line and incorporate their best engineers and geeks into new and better products in the future.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

Wister285 (185087) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029259)

I agree totally with you on this point. I thought you were talking about proxy fights!

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (4, Insightful)

R.D.Olivaw (826349) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029265)

So first you argue that we don't need oversight because consumers can fight monopolies then you give an example of how consumers buy competitor's products to affect a corporation's stock value? Here's the catch, when there is a monopoly, the lowly consumer does not have the choice to go buy another product.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029753)

Here's an analogy. If a company advertises on city busses because they are the most visible, can cab companies complain to limit this advertising? What if the bus company strikes a deal with horse carriages, does this cause prejudice to cab companies in terms of advertisement potential?

Can this type of deal put cab companies out of business?
What if this ad placement income was the cab company's only revenue?

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

sirambrose (919153) | more than 6 years ago | (#24034151)

I don't think that google sells any consumer products. They only sell advertising and enterprise services like hosted mail and search. I don't think that many people will stop using a free web site just to deprive the owner of ad revenue.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24029237)

"Microsoft was the monopoly, and they were chopped down by Google." .... they have?

This is why Ballmer is The Man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24029979)

The more time passes, we see what a masterful move the Yahoo deal was for Ballmer to make.

In one fell swoop, he destroys Yahoo and gets Google into anti-trust trouble... and all it cost him was whatever he paid the M&A lawyers to shuffle papers around.

MS's success has always been due to the blunders of it's competitors. This is one of them.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (2, Informative)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 6 years ago | (#24031223)

... I've always been confused how publicly traded companies can be considered "monopolies" in any situation except where your governments regulate them into becoming monopolies...

IBM was the monopoly, but they were chopped down by Compaq. Compaq was the monopoly, and they were chopped down by Microsoft. Microsoft was the monopoly, and they were chopped down by Google. Google's the monopoly, and they'll be chopped down by the next 18 year old college drop out startup that implants a realtime search engine in your sunglasses.

Compaq never was a monopoly, and Microsoft still is. Look it up in a dictionary sometime:

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=monopoly&x=0&y=0/ [reference.com]

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24031557)

dada21, you are a boring free-markedroid troll whose thoughts on any issue can be predicted the moment I see your name. ..blah blah investors first, if you don't like it then buy stocks.. bla bla monopolies only happen when government makes them.. bla bla companies succeed because they produce better products...

Please replace all your posts with, "It's me, you know what I'm going to say. I have no domain-specific knowledge to enhance the discussion, but I am going to make sweeping statements that would obviously be held by anyone with my outlook on the world. Feel free to either boost my ego by agreeing, or give me an opportunity at a sophomoric attack by countering."

Thanks.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

neural cooker (720830) | more than 6 years ago | (#24031777)

> I've always been confused how publicly traded companies can be considered "monopolies" in any situation except
> where your governments regulate them into becoming monopolies. If you don't like how a company acts, buy some
> stock and get your friends and family and cohorts to do the same, then go in and work to change it.

This sounds good in theory but not in reality. Although the only time this effectively works is by a powerful investor activist that decides to work his way on the board of directors via buying a lot of stock and through various business contacts (and getting a good portion the business press to agree with him on major points). Then once you're on the board you have to replace the other members with people that will agree with you. Even then this normally always fails.

What is voted on is decided by the board not the investors. Things like this would not be up for vote by the shareholders. To really change things you have to control the board but even then you will probably fail in changing things, especially in the long run, and may open yourself up to all kinds of litigation. The system is carefully regulated (by law and many other ways) in order to maximize profit and not be swayed unimportant things like minority or majority mandate not the other way around. You have a better chance swaying a private company. This kind of change cannot be made within the system. This is why it requires regulation.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... How much u wanna bet (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033627)

That that Carl guy and msoft are both or singly behind prodding the DOJ to actually review the merger or collaboration deal. If that Carl guy and that other one named Ballmer were not so vociferously after Yahoo!, then I doubt the DOJ would probe or investigate for too long.

Hell, are the DOJ going to investigate InBev? Are they going to investigate Anheuser Busch/Dos Equis?

If Yahoo! and Google strike an arrangement that actually does measurable, sustained, enduring and painful retardation of microsoft, then WE ALL WIN, except for those who don't care that their individual greed are likely to put newer, (fresher ?) players at a disadvantage. In the computer world ms has had a long lucky, thuggery-derived winnings streak, and anything that "market corrects" that affront or compensates for the corporate and moral damage they've done should be encouraged.

Re:Taxdollars wasted... (1)

dave87656 (1179347) | more than 6 years ago | (#24040257)

IBM was the monopoly, but they were chopped down by Compaq. Compaq was the monopoly, and they were chopped down by Microsoft. Microsoft was the monopoly, and they were chopped down by Google.

When did Compaq chop down IBM? And when was Compaq a monopoly? Microsoft still is a monopoly as is Google for all intents and purposes. But they are monopolies in different markets.

Obviously (0, Redundant)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028633)

Wake me up when they actually say that Google violated antitrust law. This action was so obvious that I wonder if any /.er didn't already assume this would happen.

Fill me with confidence (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028635)

I just hope it's as exhaustive as their investigation into the Valerie Plame leak or O.J.'s hunt for the real killer.

Re:Fill me with confidence (3, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030691)

"I just hope it's as exhaustive as their investigation into the Valerie Plame leak "

You mean how they found the source of the leak (Richard Armitage), but didn't prosecute him?

Re:Fill me with confidence (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24031485)

I'm sorry, we can't comment on that--as the investigation is still ongoing.

Re:Fill me with confidence (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 6 years ago | (#24036041)

I don't know. I think they Justice Department might be all tied up on more important issues, like steroids in baseball.

Hmmmm..... (2, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028639)

Strange how when Microsoft offered a deal to outright buy Yahoo, DoJ remained silent, but when Yahoo and Google want to team up, they're all over them.

<sarcasm>But there wouldn't be anything shady going on at the Justice Department, oh, no. You can trust those guys.</sarcasm>

Re: Shady (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028763)


That's because Marshall Mathers has been spending his efforts at the **AA's.

Re: Shady (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029013)

That's because Marshall Mathers has been spending his efforts at the **AA's.

Wrong Shady.

Re:Hmmmm..... (3, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028853)

Microsoft isn't the market leader in internet advertising and internet search advertising. Microhoo still would have been the second place company behind Google.

Re:Hmmmm..... (3, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029067)

Microsoft isn't the market leader in internet advertising and internet search advertising.

That's a red herring. They are still the market leader in desktop operating systems and, at the end of the day, they intend to leverage that to knock Google out of business because Google has been threatening their core business, especially with Google Apps.

Microsoft going after Google isn't about Microsoft expanding its market, it's about removing a potential threat to their core OS and office suite usiness.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029295)

That may well be the case, but I'm pretty sure that the justice department would need material evidence showing that what you say was Microsoft's intent in buying Yahoo, whereas with Google, they can look into it based on their relative position in the search market.

(I tend to think that Microsoft is getting into the internet because they see it as a valuable place to do business; Office seems to be doing fine on its own, and the number of people moving away from Windows is not yet 'huge')

Re:Hmmmm..... (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24031573)

If they want material evidence, they just need to look at every other market Microsoft has been in and see how they've managed to leverage their OS and office suite monopoly to dominate it.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24032315)

Console gaming? Zune? Peripherals? Servers? Databases?

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033117)

Well, I'll leave the rest as an exercise to the reader, but as for the biggest one, two words: Internet Explorer.

Re:Hmmmm..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24040135)

What are you? 6? Every OS Bundles a browser. If an OS doesn't come with a browser, the average dumb consumer thinks the "INTERNET" wont work on this computer and they will return it and buy another one.

People who cannot download and install browsers, don't care about which browser it is. People who do care what they get, are perfectly capable of installing any browser they wish.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033135)

I'll leave the reast as an exercise to the reader, but the biggest one...well, two words: Internet Explorer.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033383)

So instead of "every other market Microsoft has been in" you meant "each market they've managed to leverage their OS and office suite monopoly to dominate" (that is awkward because I am mostly cutting and pasting what you said)?

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033859)

Pretty accurate, yes.

Also, I believe it's only a matter of time before Xbox360 begins to dominate more in the gaming console market. No one, including Sony, saw Wii coming, and Sony can't manage to keep dominating the rest of the market PS3 much longer at the prices they insist on charging.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24034157)

Surely their success (or lack thereof) in the console business is not a result of leveraging their market position in PC operating systems and Office software (they could be dumping, but that's related to their financial position, not leveraging their other products).

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24034209)

Says who? The way I understand it, the original name for XBox was DirectX Box, and it is my understanding that games targetting DirectX can be ported to Xbox and Xbox360 with little or no modification -- just a recompile.

If that's not leveraging their OS monopoly, I don't know what is.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24034623)

It comes down to whether you make a distinction between taking advantage of and leveraging. It actually makes sense to have that compatibility and is only really harmful to the extent that it makes it more difficult for multi-platform developers to create a compatibility layer.

(which they have to do regardless for multiple platforms, the standard isn't that they need a compatibility layer to run on PS3 and Xbox360, it is whether any directXness of the code for the 360 makes it more difficult to write code compatible with the PS3)

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24035717)

it is whether any directXness of the code for the 360 makes it more difficult to write code compatible with the PS3)

Bingo.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 6 years ago | (#24038735)

There's a hell of a lot more than just a recompile. For example, the Xbox OS doesn't export function names - it exports ordinals (at least from what I read of the original Xbox OS). That alone requires major rejigging of an app.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

H0D_G (894033) | more than 6 years ago | (#24040373)

except mp3 players. Zune still has low sales compared to creative and iPod.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

order_underlies (451013) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029161)

But its a growing industry and Microsoft is a behemoth that has already been investigated for antitrust in a fairly closely neighboring industry - and weakly slapped on the wrist for it.

I think its pretty weak - if they investigate this then they should re-open the microsoft case - i still can't buy a PC without windows on it (unless it's a mac) that has to be much more anticompetitive.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

initdeep (1073290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030629)

you havent tried to buy a pc lately then.

Dell has been selling N series computers for over 4 years that I"M AWARE OF.

They could have been selling these for a lot longer.

They also sell Ubuntu preloaded as well.

So do many other places.

OH!
You mean you can't buy a PC from a really large OEM other than Dell a fully loaded version of the OS you want.

That's called economics.

There isn't enough demand for it.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24031459)

i still can't buy a PC without windows on it (unless it's a mac) that has to be much more anticompetitive.

Sure you can. Dell sells PCs with Ubuntu, and PCs sans OS (N-series). HP sells machines that can be preloaded with FreeDOS or SUSE Linux [hp.com] .

Most small OEMs offer PCs with either no OS or FreeDOS and some will install just about any OS you request. There is even one small OEM that I know that sells nothing but machines pre-loaded with Linux.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

MMInterface (1039102) | more than 6 years ago | (#24034305)

"i still can't buy a PC without windows on it"

You might want to open an investigation into this. When is the last time you tried to buy a PC?

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

lgarner (694957) | more than 6 years ago | (#24035127)

Is Microsoft requiring that all computers come with Windows? Or is it the individual seller that's only packaging it that way?

Re:Hmmmm..... (2, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030035)

Strange how when Microsoft engages in big deals they're called monopolists, yet when Google takes over advertising from the only real competition it has, you act all surprised the the DoJ raises an eyebrow.

Microsoft was the geeks' darling 15 years ago. Is it going to take us another 15 years to realize that Google is just another Big Corp that will bite, scratch and steal its way into a position where it can dictate our lifestyles to suit its profit agenda?

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030369)

Microsoft was the geeks' darling 15 years ago. Is it going to take us another 15 years to realize that Google is just another Big Corp that will bite, scratch and steal its way into a position where it can dictate our lifestyles to suit its profit agenda?

Speak for yourself. I knew Microsoft was evil 15 years ago (1993) just as I know it now.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033189)

Microsoft isn't any more or less evil than any other big corporate, same as Google. Google isn't "not evil" just because they have a slogan that says so.

Stop being naive.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 6 years ago | (#24032183)

Google and Yahoo working together would be #1 marketshare holder working with the distant #2 marketshare holder.

Yahoo and MS would be the distant #2 market share holder working with the distant #3 market share holder.

Even united these two would still be smaller than Google. Google is already the biggest, and adding yahoo to the biggest player in the market makes this even more unbalanced, hence the call for an investigation.

I suspect that even if MS and Yahoo worked things out then they may have been investigated as well, the difference is that MS and Yahoo never ended up agreeing to something for the Justice Dept to investigate.

Here's one of the tools used in weighing the effects of mergers on market power distribution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herfindahl_index [wikipedia.org]

It's not just about sheer size. MS is a big company, but relatively weak in terms of internet search engine advertisement. When investigating these kinds of issues the Justice Dept will weigh the argument that since MS is relatively weak in this market segment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_segmentation) it would be acceptable for them to merge with Yahoo.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

MMInterface (1039102) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033895)

It isn't strange if you consider the state of MS web services vs that of Google's. As a slashdot reader it is hard to forget that the DoJ exists for reasons other than dealing with MS. (No sarcasm, I do it too.)

Re:Hmmmm..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24034961)

If you want something more relevant. Think Microsoft buying Apple then see if the DOJ steps in.

I still blame Bill Gates for bailing out Apple in the 90's.

Re:Hmmmm..... (1)

futureb (1075733) | more than 6 years ago | (#24035371)

an antitrust investigation on deals like this wouldn't begin until there is an agreement and an HSR filing, which would then trigger a DOJ or FTC review. so are you saying that DOJ should have investigated Microsoft for merely offering to buy a company? i don't think so.

Powered by Microsoft (-1)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028691)

The DOJ should have split up M$ many years ago. They should have quashed the deals that make computer makers buy a copy of Windoze for every machine no matter what OS is on them. They should have looked at every nefarious deal M$ has made.

But, alas M$ has been, and still is allowed to run rampant killing of inovation and every company they wish.

Boeing should have never been allowed to merge with McDonnell Douglass. Big oil companies are coalescing like mercury at the bottom of a salad bowl, and the Telco industry is back to merging to make the old AT&T look like a nice friendly company.

So, why look at google, and the meaningless Yahoo as a danger?

Guess who!

Exxon can buy Mobile, (1)

grizdog (1224414) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028701)

Chevron can buy Texaco, Mercedes can buy Chrysler, the Baby Bells buying each other and ATT, Steel companies, and so many other examples. "isn't entirely intuitive" is putting it mildly, but it boils down to whether the Justice Department wants to enforce the law at a given point in time.


I can't believe this won't happen in some form, even if they have to make some cosmetic changes to make it look better.

Re:Exxon can buy Mobile, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24029449)

It depends a lot on the companies standing within their industries. With Google #1 (~56%) and Yahoo #2(~23%) you end up consolidating a HUGE chunk of the market into one entity(around 80% of the market).

A Microsoft(11%)+Yahoo(23%) would have had some scrutiny but since the combined entity wouldn't have been nearly as big as the market leader (34% versus googles 56%) it probably would have passed.

Life Sux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24028745)

Still thinking about the $$ i lost in the MSFT/YHOO deal shoud post it on http://lifesuxdaily.com ...

Trying It Again (1)

arctanx (1187415) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028845)

This reminds me particularly of the deal they did with Ask Jeeves. I reckon that Yahoo is in a good deal of trouble these days having not embraced search technology earlier and they're looking to get the same monetary boost to push into some different areas where perhaps they won't be such a "distant second".

I won't presume to know how the regulators will consider it, but I think that Google already has the monopoly on search advertising. Until they abandon their doing no evil, this is not such a bad thing. I don't use Yahoo, but if I ever do, it's a win for me if it's Google and not doubleclick supplying the ads.

Google drags NSA/FBI to Court over Subpoena... (-1, Troll)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#24028863)

...so Bush sics the Anti-Trust Act on them?
Next thing the SEC will "investigate" Larry Page for "suspected" securities violations, and Eric Schmidt will be investigate on his "citizenship" revocation.
You can't investigate Enron or Exxon, and let Microsoft scot-free, but investigate Google?
This corrupt, rotten-to-the-core regime puts 2nd world regimes in South America and i guess Venezuala regime is our equal now.
Take for instance:
1. Daring to question Govt on Iraq: CIA Agent leaked.
2. Daring to refuse NSA request: CEO under trial Qwest.
3. Daring to drag NSA to court: Investigation.
Man, and we thought Nixon was tricky dick.
Obama should first of all boot out Rupert Murdoch's empire by changing media ownership laws to prevent anyone owning more than 4.99% of any media company.

Re:Google drags NSA/FBI to Court over Subpoena... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24030407)

Google drags NSA/FBI to Court over Subpoena...so Bush sics the Anti-Trust Act on them?

Post hoc much?

Obama should first of all boot out Rupert Murdoch's empire by changing media ownership laws to prevent anyone owning more than 4.99% of any media company.

He shouldn't, and can't. You moron.

Incoming monopoly in 3... 2... 1... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24028909)

n/t

Investors versus consumers (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029287)

I've always been confused how publicly traded companies can be considered "monopolies" in any situation except where your governments regulate them into becoming monopolies. If you don't like how a company acts, buy some stock and get your friends and family and cohorts to do the same, then go in and work to change it.

So people who don't have money to invest will have no say in how the economy is run, even if their life depends on how the economy is run? Great Idea, dude. 80% of the wealth in the country is concentrated in the hands of 20%. And recursively 64% (80% of 80%) of wealth in the hands of 4% (20% of 20%). So these rich people can get together, buy all providers of a service that is crucial for the population and tell rest of them pay an arm and leg for the service as consumers or pay an arm and a leg to buy shares? You are very confused.

The role of the government is to ensure competition. To enable the consumers not investors to vote with their dollars. Truth in labeling laws, truth in advertising laws, fair competition are all essential part of the free markets. Yes, The current top dogs of capitalism will bitch moan and bellyache. But unless we have the second tier dogs snapping at their heels, we all will be screwed dude.

Re:Investors versus consumers (2, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 6 years ago | (#24032121)

The role of the government is to ensure competition.

In theory at least. Sadly, that theory doesn't hold up in many cases.

Re:Investors versus consumers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24033127)

64% of the wealth is not in the hands of 4%. Recursive math doesnt work that way. If 10% of your paycheck pays for 1/3 of the rent cost (lets assume the rest is paid by other renters, eg roommates), you cant say that 90% of your paycheck pays for only 2/3 of your rent. You, being 1/3 of the population paying (a specific) rent, is on par for choosing a population. Lets extrapolate this to a large population - Population of renters tend to spend roughly 20% of their paycheck on the rent each month. You can say that 80% of paychecks are spent on non-rent, but you cant say that 64% of paychecks (80% of 80%) are spent on [insert anything here]. The one you responded to is correct, to change a company, vote with your dollars. The role of government has nothing to do with ensuring competition - a free market economy is in charge of producing that. When consumers disgree with pricing, they adhere to the laws of supply and demand, but not because of government. Governement provides social services for the governed, as chosen by the governed. When rich people buy shares, it is because they have money, which comes from society saying that they have proven their value, and thusly have rewarded them. Since we use money as the currency with which to distribute limited resources, those who have proven their usefullness to society get to dictate the supply. Consumers get to respond with demand. In the end, economics makes competition keep everyone honest about what the supply and the demand are.

Microsoft? (1)

strabes (1075839) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029331)

Why are they "investigating" this when there is a giant monopoly in the operating system and office suite markets? Maybe they should do something about monopolies that have existed for >15 years before looking at google and yahoo, especially when the former actually provides a good product. It's tough to be "overpriced" or "exploitative" when you give away your product for free.

Re:Microsoft? (2, Insightful)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030125)

Search isn't their product.

They sell YOU to the ADVERTISERS.

Re:Microsoft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24032867)

They sell YOU to the ADVERTISERS.

But in Soviet Russia, ... erm...

Re:Microsoft? (1)

SebaSOFT (859957) | more than 6 years ago | (#24030249)

The answer is simple. MICROSOFT made the justice Dept. to investigate this. Remember the "don't be evil" slogan doesn't apply to the Redmond-based company.

What is the real danger in this? (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029779)

"...but it does tend to frown on large deals between companies that operate on the same level if those deals can be interpreted as restrictive of trade." I don't understand where this alleged harms users. Should I worry that if I search on Yahoo! - something I never do, by the way - I will see the same ads as the identical search would yield on Google? Where does non-competition come into play? Hell, I never read those ads, let alone click on them. Well, maybe that one time, for those herbal penis enlargement pills, but only because I was curious if they could make me even bigger.

Re:What is the real danger in this? (1)

danzona (779560) | more than 6 years ago | (#24031647)

I believe that in your example the user that is potentially being harmed is not the searcher, it is the advertiser that paid for the ads that the searcher sees. Hopefully when viewed from the advertiser's point of view, the concern about non competition will be apparent.

Oil companies? (1)

Taulin (569009) | more than 6 years ago | (#24029881)

Let me paraphrase that MadMoney guy, hoping not to get it wrong. The merger between Serius and XM radio has gone on for almost two years, and now they also want hearings on internet advertising as a monopoly? They didn't even have one hearing when several huge oil companies merged a few years back. Any push against Yahoo and Google, I bet, can be traced back to some lobbyist (probably from Microsoft).

Re:Oil companies? (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 6 years ago | (#24033679)

Good analogy and exactly the point I was going to make (about M$ paying enough lobbyists to make a stink about this issue, who the hell else cares that much and has the $$ to bribe^H^H^H^H^Hinfluence our elected officials for this non-issue?). That merger got held up while many made the fast-track; Exxon Mobile anyone? There's two hurting companies that needed to get together for some synergy. From wikipedia:
"In 1998, Exxon and Mobil signed a US$73.7 billion definitive agreement to merge and form a new company called Exxon Mobil Corporation, the largest company on the planet. After shareholder and regulatory approvals, the merger was completed on November 30, 1999. The merger of Exxon and Mobil was unique in American history because it reunited the two largest companies of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil trust, Standard Oil Company of New Jersey/Exxon and Standard Oil Company of New York/Mobil, which had been forcibly separated by government order nearly a century earlier. This reunion resulted in the largest merger in US corporate history."

How about AT&T Cingluar? The list goes on, and the corruption moves ahead full steam while companies that don't play the "pay for influence game" get sidelined; like XM/Sirius now sitting in FCC limbo.

No, this is M$ dollars at work to influence your tax dollars. Happy voting.

Monopoly regulation 101- why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24030493)

There is no link between being a monopoly and being publicly traded, no link at all. Publicly traded companies can be monopolies or operate in competitive markets, monopolies can be publicly traded or privately owned.

Publicly traded just means that anyone can pay money to buy a small portion of the company and gain voting rights and a share of profits.

The government has a duty to regulate monopolies and prevent their formation otherwise the companies exert such market as to dictate unfairly high prices to consumers. Consumers have no choice but to accept. The end result is an inefficient allocation of resources (this is basic economic theory).

Consider the national grid company in England, now part of the Lattice group. No company will ever compete with the national grid to transport electricity, you'd have to build an entirely redundant grid just to compete. Because the barrier to entry is so massive (and it would be a huge waste of resources to build a second grid just to have some competition) if the national grid were free to do as it chose it would charge exorbitant prices to transport electricity and consumers would just have to swallow it. The government steps in here and limits the national grid to making only a certain rate of return on it's assets.

What are they guilty of? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24031329)

I'll tell you: they're guilty of not being Microsoft. That's all. If you're female, better not get too successful on Wall Street, or you'll end up like Martha Stewart. If you're gay, better not get too famous or you'll end up like Richard Hatch. If you're not Microsoft, better not try to make any money in technology or you'll end up like AT&T.

Some observations (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#24032855)

1. The Bush administration is generally opposed to business regulation, so there's a good question as to why they're changing their tune now.
2. Why did the same folks that are considering blocking GOOG-YHOO had no problem with MSFT-YHOO?

Combine those factors, and it's possible someone threw a chair at the FTC to make sure this potential merger doesn't happen.

So why not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24033833)

So why was there no Justice Dept looking into the Microsoft-Yahoo deal? I think the computer field is split up between software, networking, and hardware. Microsoft has a clear control on software and was after a bigger piece of networking software or online presence. It was my understanding a monopoly can not have full control over the entire area of the field it operates in. Example: car makers can not control the oil, steel refineries, and plastic refineries. This was my understanding of it when they taught it in high school. Has things changed that much and if so how come I did not get a letter about this so I can keep up with the changing times. I think its worth knowing about this stuff so I can properly complain.

Justice? (1)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24035039)

Isn't the Justice Dept a large entity that is restrictive of trade, itself?

Great. see how free business in u.s. ? (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24035571)

and how easily private interests can have the government launch an 'investigation' for their own benefit ?

that billionaire guy jumped in and attempted a hostile takeover of yahoo to force a merger with microsoft. it failed due to the board's resistance. the faggot tried to oust the board through shareholders. he failed.

and now suddenly government launches an antitrust investigation to google-yahoo deal that axed the billionaire faggot's filthy takeover attempt. anyone to believe that this 'investigation' was not brought by greasing the right palms at right places, is an idiot.

just one filthy bastard can do that much of damage to business freedom. to all you republicans out there who have been blowing my ear off about republican agenda freeing businesses in the discussions - stop it. see what kind of environment u.s. market has become thanks to long periods of republican administration. a lawless place in which a single wealthy individual can totally obliterate mega companies out of whim.

win-win for yahoo? (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24036627)

I haven't been following this as closely as I should have, but I do know that Yahoo was resisting the MSFT deal in opposition to many shareholders, and sought out GOOG at least partially to avoid lawsuits. So, either the deal goes through and there's a strong force vs. MSFT or the deal doesn't go through and... IANAL, but I would assume... they have enough to avoid shareholder lawsuits (ie, we tried with GOOG and the gov't said no; why would we assume any different with MSFT?).

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