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The spin from Google

Sitting just to the right of Smith, Google chief legal officer David Drummond disagreed with just about everything he had to say. "The online advertising business is complex, but my message to you today is simple," Drummond announced. "Online advertising benefits consumers, promotes free speech, and helps small businesses succeed. Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick will help advance these goals while protecting consumer privacy and enabling greater innovation, competition, and growth."

He said that small businesses enjoy Google advertising because they can reach consumers they wouldn't ordinary reach and that consumers enjoy it because it "connects them to the information, the products, and the services they seek." But he really got clever with his free speech argument.

"Many bloggers and many web site owners actually can afford to dedicate themselves full-time to that endeavor because of online advertising," he said. "Last year, we paid $3.3bn in advertising revenue to our web site partners and it's a great satisfaction to us that we're able to help this proliferation of online speech and activity."

Google's purchase of DoubleClick, he insisted, will help the company provide even more benefits to consumers and small businesses - and promote even more free speech. "We think we'll be able to provide better and more relevant advertising to consumers and help publishers and advertisers generate more revenue," he said. "All of this new economic activity will fuel the creation of more rich and more diverse content on the internet which of course benefits consumers and society at large."

Drummond also claimed that the proposed deal would not endanger user privacy: "Privacy is a user interest that we've been protecting since our inception and we will continue to innovate in this area."

And he did his best to shoot down arguments that the deal would create a monopoly, insisting that Google and DoubleClick are not competitors.

"DoubleClick does not buy ads, sell ads, or buy or sell advertising," he said. "All it does is provide the technology to enable advertisers and publishers to deliver ads once they have come to terms, and provide advertisers and publishers statistics relating to the ads." Google is to DoubleClick, he said, as Amazon is to FedEx.

Naturally, Microsoft didn't buy this argument. "Google is already FedEx. It is already Amazon," said Brad Smith. "And now they're proposing to buy the post office." ®

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