Feeds

Microsoft-Yahoo! pact hit with anti-trust question

Three-into-two doesn't wash

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.