Google buys DoubleClick, Microsoft protests

Late on Friday, Google announced that it had entered a definitive agreement to purchase online advertising firm DoubleClick for $3.1 billion in cash. Google boasted that the deal would improve user experience on the web by increasing the quality and relevancy of ads, and that it would also help online publishers by giving them access to new advertisers. In the Google press release, Google co-founder and President Sergey Brin also added that Google wanted to make ads “less intrusive.” Good news, right? Well, Microsoft doesn’t think so.

As the New York Times reports, the Redmond, Washington-based software giant is urging antitrust authorities to review the deal. Pointing out that the acquisition would combine the two largest online advertising distributors, Microsoft claims that Google’s purchase of DoubleClick “would hurt competition in the fast-growing market for advertising on the Web and raises questions about how much personal information would be collected by Google, already a dominant player in online advertising.”

The New York Times quotes Microsoft general counsel Bradford L. Smith as saying that Microsoft talked to other companies over the weekend, and that many of them may soon come forward with similar concerns. At this point, however, the Times says it isn’t clear whether the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission will actually review the deal.

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