Google Anti-Trust Revisited with DoubleClick Deal

April 17, 2007   

The mere idea of an anti-trust case being brought on to Google is one that gets some people, like Eric Schmidt, shaking their heads a little. Them?

Four months ago, I wrote a brief post about what issues would factor into the Google Anti-Trust story and I was interested to see the issue brought up at Mr. Schmidt's keynote today at Web2Expo.

The funny thing is that the words "anti-trust" are coming from MSFT and ATT, which makes for a tremendous laugh (I need not explain).

Anyway, the reason these guys are whispering foul, of course, is the GOOG/DoubleClick deal, which was announced on Friday and has rocked the online media world, affects everyone, including the media firm I do work for. The issue is that it's tough to find anyone around who isn't working with one of these folks for online ads, and now they're working for one big behemoth.

But how does this deal measure up to the issues I presented in January?

Barriers to entry are still low, so this deal does little to discourage innovation and competition. Adwords/adsense and DoubleClick really deal with a commoditizes business which they are the best at. If folks want to innovate, there's lots of room. Just don't try to beat them at their own game.

Google is still talking the open-source/free-love side of the internet, and I believe them. Eric mentioned several times today that Google will remain committed to allowing users and customers freedom to move their business elsewhere.

On a privacy side, John Battelle, host of the Schmidt interview, asked how his company, one which does business with BOTH GOOG and DoubleClick separately, would be affected. He worried that the combination of the two companies would create a monster which "knew too much" about his company, and beyond "too much," more than he could possibly know about his company (Federated Media).

Schmidt had two answers, it seemed, though it was wrapped up in one: "We need to make sure you're happy as our customer," which also sounded a lot like "trust me."

Indeed, "In GOOG we Trust."

And if they keep it up, I think they can avoid the anti-trust.

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