Feeds

Microsoft-Yahoo! pact hit with anti-trust question

Three-into-two doesn't wash

Application security programs and practises

Microsoft's chief executive has championed his company's search and advertising marriage with Yahoo! as healthy for individuals and advertisers because it delivers "more credible" competition to Google.

In an interview with TechFlash, Steve Ballmer denied the deal worsens the competitive landscape, with "three competitors going to two."

But one consumer rights group has dismissed Ballmer's claim, calling on US and European regulators and politicians to monitor for violations of anti-trust law and to insist on consumers' rights over collection of, and access to, their personal data.

Consumer Watchdog said the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DoJ) should take a lead in monitoring Microsoft and Yahoo!. The DoJ last dragged Microsoft through the courts during the 1990s and earlier this decade for violation of anti-trust laws with its desktop OD and web browser.

One influential US politician, meanwhile, was quick to pledge "careful scrutiny" of the companies' deal.

US senator Herb Kohl, who chairs the Senate panel with responsibility for consumer rights and anti-trust issues, said the agreement will be "closely reviewed" by his sub committee.

"Our subcommittee is concerned about competition issues in these markets [internet search and advertising] because of the potentially far-reaching consequences for consumers and advertisers, and our concern about dampening the innovation we have come to expect from a competitive high-tech industry," Kohl said in a statement.

Consumer Watchdog noted the competitive search and advertising landscape will deteriorate - not improve - if the result is two enterprises that exploit users' data at the expense of their privacy rights.

John Simpson, an advocate with the group, said the FTC and DoJ must insist users retain control of their data, how it's used, and where its stored.

"Users must have control of their data - whether it is collected and how it is used. Guarantees of that control must be in place before this deal is approved. Justice and the FTC can - and must - insist on this," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Google has apparently kept a low profile in opposing the deal. The DoJ is investigating Google's $125m book-scanning settlement with American authors and publishers for its Google Books Search service. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.