Commentary

Feds Gunning For Google?

Yahoo's plan to outsource some paid search ads to Google is facing pushback on several fronts. The Department of Justice has reportedly hired top litigator Sandy Litvack to investigate the deal -- a move seen as signaling a serious intent to pursue a case.

Meanwhile, California has joined around a dozen other states, including New York and Florida, that are also investigating the planned deal, according to press accounts.

And CNet reports that some officials in the Justice Department want to broaden their focus to whether Google has grown too big, regardless of the Yahoo deal.

With all of this activity, Google executives could well be second-guessing their decision to work with Yahoo. At the same time, investigating a company is a far cry from litigation. And even if Google gets hauled into court, the company could still win the case. Clearly, if anyone has the resources to fight this battle, Google does.

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When the government took on Microsoft, the company defended itself in court. And, after years of litigation and appeals, the ultimate settlement didn't appear to result in much change.

Unlike the case with Microsoft, it doesn't appear that Google grew so big because it was predatory. Rather, the company came to dominate search because its algorithm works. That is, for the most part, people are able to find what they're searching for on Google, so they use it. Under those circumstances, a government lawsuit against Google could be a very hard sell to the courts.

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