Feeds

Euro lawyers see tortuous road ahead for Microsoft's Yahoo! bid

Antitrust-ageddon

3 Big data security analytics techniques

!!!!! Microsoft is likely to face a torrid time from European regulators before it can even think of closing its proposed takeover of Yahoo!.

A leading UK competition lawyer told the Reg today: "Any big Microsoft acquisition is likely to be looked at very carefully, especially if it is in an area where they have been complaining about their rivals - I wonder if there is anything in the documents Microsoft filed in its complaint to the EU about Google which they are now regretting."

"The obvious initial fear could be that Microsoft would bundle search into Windows. That's something regulators will have to look at. It's possible that Microsoft will make a commitment not to do this before the deal goes ahead in order to head off regulators."

The lawyer predicted the deal would go straight to the people who deal with Microsoft generally: "Microsoft lost a case on interoperability within the enterprise and it is possible this deal will raise fears for wider interoperability. Either way, regulators will have a good hard look at this, not least because they will have Google jumping up and down and taking them to court if they don't."

Asked about possible conflict with US regulators, our source added: "It is almost inevitable there will be conflict. I don't know if there's any actual case here but there are facts to be looked at and I don't understand the American hands-off approach."

Dr Hans Friederiszick, managing director of the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin, said: “This is a two-pronged issue of competition and privacy and will be treated as such by the competition and regulatory authorities both in Europe and the US. Competition issues will focus on the question of whether this will encourage unilateral price increases for internet advertising via search engines, given the already high level of concentration in this market."

Friederiszick also noted the takeover would reduce the number of search engines with global audiences from three to two.

US regulators will also be looking at the deal. The Department of Justice said it would be interested in looking at the competition aspects of the takeover.

Becket McGrath, partner at London law firm BerwinLeightonPaisner, told the Reg: "There's no doubt US and European regulators will be looking at this closely."

"In more traditional industries it might be possible to sell off part of the business to reduce the regulators' concerns. But it's difficult to see how that would work - search is not really a different business, it's part of the portal."

McGrath also said that the deal could lead to leverage issues - Microsoft's desktop strength coupled with Yahoo's strength in web services could be seen as providing a stronger competitor for Google. But it could also be seen as protecting Microsoft's desktop position and therefore anti-competitive, because it would hinder the rise of other competitors in that market.

Another possible hurdle to the deal is a rival bid. But private equity groups are mostly licking their wounds from the credit crunch and don't have much else to add to a deal of this size. The only other option would be a big media company - but again, in an atmosphere of shrinking advertising spending, few would willingly enter a bidding war with Microsoft. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
APPLE FAILS to ditch class action suit over ebook PRICE-FIX fiasco
Do not pass go, do cough (up to) $840m in damages
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.