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Google to DoJ: The clock is ticking

Will push Goo-Hoo! deal, regulators be damned

When government regulators come knocking, businesses usually make with the "Yes, sirs" and the "Thank you very much, sirs," attempting a bit of the old boardroom charm to make the probing process go easy.

Then there's Google, which actually gives the US Justice Department a three and a half month deadline to review its advertising partnership with Yahoo!.

Google chief Eric Schmidt reaffirmed Wednesday that the the company plans to push forward with its deal to serve ads to Yahoo! early next month - even if government regulators need more time to finish their anti-competition investigation.

The Goo-Hoo! joint venture was voluntarily put on hold in July so antitrust regulators could probe the pact between the two tech giants and direct competitors for Internet advertising. The non-exclusive deal allows Google to serve advertisements next to Yahoo! Search engine results in the US and Canada.

"My understanding of the way this works, because it is a commercial deal, we have a choice of when we implement it," said Schmidt during a conference with reporters yesterday.

Schmidt said further delays could be costly for the companies. "Time is money in our business," he said.

Microsoft has complained the advertising collaboration would hurt competition in the web ad marketplace. The cries of anticompetitive foul come after Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo! earlier this year - and was rebuffed. Google, at the time, claimed a Microsoft-Yahoo merger would anti-competitive.

Google insists its current deal with Yahoo is neither here nor there, as the pact is non-exclusive and not a merger. But the Department of Justice doesn't seem so sure. It hired its old anti-trust boss from the private sector to head up a probe to consider if it will block the deal.

Meanwhile, the European Union opened its own investigation into the proposed tie-up. Although the deal is currently limited to web properties in the US and Canada, Google said it may extend to other parts of the world in the future.

Wonder how long Google will give the EU to sniff around ®

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