Google Shoos the Trustbusters Away

By now, we've all heard about — and grown tired of — the anticlimactic end to the Microsoft-Yahoo deal. The new news, however, is the ultra-secret to-be-determined deal between Yahoo and Google.

In mid-April, Yahoo partnered with Google for a two-week test of Google ad placement with Yahoo search results. At the time, observers considered it an intimidation tactic, designed to scare Microsoft about how far Yahoo might go to remain independent. However, the trial paid off well, and it now looks like Yahoo may be ready to enter into a long-term, potentially 100% Google-based advertising program for Yahoo Search.

Of course, the news of a Google-Yahoo partnership couldn't come without someone proclaiming the approach of the Apocalypse and trotting out the Four Horsemen, though the cast of characters is an interesting one. The Justice Department is being lobbied by a collection of civil rights watchdogs and "rural advocacy" organizations, who believe, in a nutshell, that allowing Google to put ads on Yahoo search pages will give Google the power to rule the internet. According to their petition: "We face a possible future in which no content could be seamlessly accessed without Google's permission." Of course, because we all know that Google ads are the gate through which all internet traffic passes. We don't want to seem thick, but where exactly is the connection between "rural advocacy," civil rights, and internet search — wouldn't it make more sense to hear from, oh, we don't know, someone involved in technology?

That may not be a good enough shibboleth, however, as undeniably tech-related Microsoft is screaming too, tossing around words the pod people have apparently learned from watching news coverage of their own activities. There's something funny — in that "Oh my God, Satan is taking a bubble bath in the front office" kind of way — about Microsoft making antitrust allegations, an irony not lost on Google. Big G founders Sergy Brin and Larry Page stirred it up for the press last week, calling out Microsoft's MSN network as well as well as the recently-deceased buyout bid as examples of Microsoft's lack of concern about antitrust laws, and dismissing the conclusions to which many critics are jumping. Quoth CEO Eric Schmidt: "Don't map (computer) platform economics to ad economics."

Though Google has declined to comment on just when the deal might see the light of day, inside sources are hinting at an announcement next week.

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