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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Dings Microsoft's Efforts to Disrupt Google-Yahoo

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WASHINGTON, July 15 – After testifying Tuesday morning about their internet advertising agreement in the Senate, Google and Yahoo executives trekked to the other side of the capitol to address concerns of the House Judiciary Committee in the afternoon.

Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said that the committee's Task Force on Competition Policy and Antitrust Laws was concerned about competition on the Internet – but he was concerned about the prospect that Microsoft might seek to acquire Yahoo.

Addressing a June 12 agreement between Google and Yahoo, in which the top two online search companies announced a collaboration on a range of technologies, Yahoo General Counsel Michael Callahan said it is an opportunity to accelerate competition. The deal is “good for consumers, good for advertisers, and yes, good for Yahoo,” he said.

The strictly commercial arrangement is one in which the “two companies ... will remain autonomous and compete aggressively - in search and display advertising, mobile, news, e-mail, finance - you name it,” said Callahan.

Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said that there should be no worries, for Yahoo, that the marketplace is competitive, robust and dynamic.

Further, web site operators will have “better ad matching technology, potentially increasing the revenue they earn from their site,” said Drummond. Advertisers will have better ad matching capability, “giving them improved ways to reach online customers more efficiently.”

Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith critize the agreement. Testifying over in the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, Smith recounted that Yahoo founder Jerry Yang said that if Yahoo and Google agreed to merge, competition in the search engine industry would cease.

But on the House side, Smith was forced to acknowledge the irony in Microsoft – a convicted antitrust law-breaker – pushing for government intervention to stop the deal.

Smith claimed that the Google-Yahoo agreement “will result in higher prices for advertisers and content creators.”

Another pro-Google-Yahoo voice was Tim Carter, CEO of “The agreement between Google and Yahoo, as seen from my eyes as a consumer and an internet publisher, is actually a very good idea,” he said.

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