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Privacy Groups Ready to Oppose Microsoft Takeover of Yahoo

Google isn’t the only one concerned about a Microsoft takeover of Yahoo! Inc. After Microsoft announced on Thursday that they had sent a $44.6 billion offer to Yahoo’s board of director, privacy groups are already vowing to fight any such move. This is before the deal even comes under the intense scrutiny of U.S. and European regulatory agencies, where it is expected such a takeover would face significant hurdles.

Immediately following Microsoft’s bid announcement , executive directors at the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said that the acquisition would raise serious privacy concerns.

Jeffery Chester, Executive Director at CDD, said that they will press the U.S. Department of Justice, Congress, and the Federal Trade Commission to “scrutinize this deal and impose the needed safeguards for it — and the industry.”

The CDD and EPIC don’t necessarily have the greatest track record in stop deals, however. Last year the two organizations opposed Google’s takeover of DoubleClick, a deal which was approved in December by the FTC.

Chester warns that the proposed Microsoft-Yahoo deal would “create a powerful interactive Internet duopoly in online media. Google and Microsoft will have inordinate power to share the online communications marketplace, including journalism, entertainment, and advertising. There are consequences to democratic societies everywhere, as two digital gatekeepers are likely to control how the Internet and other interactive media evolve.”

In Europe, lawyers indicate that deal would have a much harder time of passing. One European antitrust lawyer indicated that if the deal would allow Microsoft to take components of Windows online, and “in the process increases Microsoft’s dominance of the market for PC operating systems,” then the European Commission would be forced to block the deal because European Union merger rules forbid dominant companies from increasing their dominance. Furthermore, the lawyer, who asked to remain unnamed, indicated that they would have to get rid of one of the messaging systems for a deal to go through.

Yahoo has yet to formally accept Microsoft’s offer, although it is clearly an offer that must be considered. If Yahoo fails to take Microsoft up on their offer, then this could just all be pointless speculation and worry.

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7 thoughts on “Privacy Groups Ready to Oppose Microsoft Takeover of Yahoo

  1. Ridiculous.

    If you are already using the Internet, you’re already facing all of these privacy issues. If you use Gmail, Google Checkout, Orkut, Coop, Base, Webmaster Central, Blogger, etc., you’re facing these same issues so where exactly is this “new” privacy concern. Not to mention, while not overly successful in the “online space”, MSFT already has properties online and would only be expanding their user base – again, not introducing NEW privacy concerns, just increasing their userbase.

    I can’t wait till I can 30 seconds without reading another take on this bid.

  2. Hagrin,

    Like you, I’m just in it for the traffic. I see you posted your “take” on your blog lol.

    Every mention of it, pro, con, or con against MENTIONING it, gets people traffic.

    I do like your “let it play” attitude. There’s absolutely nothing new to fear here and reading that privacy groups are up in arms had me scratching my head for the same reasons.

    We don’t need Google to acquire Yahoo for there to be millions of privacy issues to worry about.

    Why pay $44 billion for private information you can get for free at MySpace?

  3. Talking about privacy issues, current stats suggest that one in five job applicants are being checked out on the internet. Lets face it, if you want to be a naughty rebel it doesn’t help your cause but openly proclaiming your stance on social media platforms like facebook & myspace.

    Yahoo is the main rival to google, and this merger will see the stakes being raised, with the consumer the ultimate beneficiary from the competition between these two search engine entities.

    Am interested to see where this goes…

  4. What about MSN.com. To me, this just shows that after all of the re-branding and tweaking of LIVE search, they still cant get it right. Dont get me wrong, i love the low CPC that Live offers, but such little traffic comes my way.

    I have a feeling that if they cant get Yahoo, they might turn to Google…..That would be fun.

  5. I hope it does not upset the balance, you know what they say better the devil you know. Yahoo needs a lot of work to bridge the gap on search if they ever can. Google is now part of the english language which is quite an achievement don’t you think.

  6. Microsoft is almost everything on the desktop side. Yahoo is almost everything on the online service side(such as Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Personals, and Yahoo Groups, Yahoo hotjobs…). Wake up your guys, one everything combined with another will be a horrible thing, plus the M$’s ussual atitude toward competitors. The day MS acqured Yahoo is the end of the world.

    I would suggest that we stand up and organized to form an anti-MS-takeover-Yahoo group somewhere in yahoo or google group, so we can better stop the avaricious M$