Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Google Businesses The Internet

EU to Investigate Google Doubleclick Acquisition 88

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the gee-maybe-thats-to-much dept.
the linux geek writes "Google is undergoing an investigation by the European Union for its $3.1 billion acquisition of internet advertiser DoubleClick. "We seek to avoid further delays that might put us at a disadvantage in competing fully against Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and others whose acquisitions in the highly competitive online advertising market have already been approved," said Google boss Eric Schmidt. The United States' Federal Trade Commission has been reviewing the acquisition since May."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

EU to Investigate Google Doubleclick Acquisition

Comments Filter:
  • Article text (Score:4, Informative)

    by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:25AM (#21348843)
    Not much to it:


    EU will investigate Google deal

    European Union regulators have launched an in-depth investigation into Google's $3.1bn (£1.5bn) takeover of online advertising firm DoubleClick.

    The EU Commission said its initial probe had shown the deal would raise competition concerns.

    It has set itself a deadline of 2 April 2008 to reach a decision.

    Google said it would work with the Commission to show how the acquisition would benefit publishers, advertisers and consumers.

    "We seek to avoid further delays that might put us at a disadvantage in competing fully against Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and others whose acquisitions in the highly competitive online advertising market have already been approved," said Google boss Eric Schmidt.

    The European Commission is working closely on the case with the US Federal Trade Commission, which has been reviewing the deal since May.

    Both Google and DoubleClick are involved in online advertising, although they have different roles.

    DoubleClick helps link up advertising agencies, marketers and web site publishers hoping to put ads online and track them.

    Google allows firms to target advertising at people using particular search terms and also stores information about users' internet surfing habits.
    • It has set itself a deadline of 2 April 2008 to reach a decision.

      Charlemagne will be 1,266 years old on April 2, 2008. That's a lot of candles! Fitting that the Emperor Google will (or won't) be allowed to acquire Doubleclick on the (old) Emperor of Europe's 1,266th birthday!

      -mcgrew
  • And if... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ngarrang (1023425) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:40AM (#21348989) Journal
    ...the EU thinks the deal is anti-competitive, but the FTC does not, would this stop a deal between two companies who are HQ'd in America? I understand that Google and DoubleClick operate globally, but I fail to see where the FTC would care about the EU's opinion.

    Someone with some business/legal acumen, please explain this to me. I am but a humble geek unaware of the politics of billion dollar companies.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      Oh, it's pretty simple:

      1. Buy up an interesting-looking smaller company.
      2. Either pay off trade officials or charm them, depending on whether you are an evil megacorporation or a less evil megacorporation.
      3. Profit!
    • Re:And if... (Score:5, Informative)

      by FredDC (1048502) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:53AM (#21349111)
      IANAL but I think if Google plans to do business in the EU by selling online advertisement space to European companies and the EU decides that they hold a monopoly on such advertising than they will have to pay fines, or get rid of the monopoly. As you said I don't think the EU can stop the deal, but they can convict Google.
      • by S.O.B. (136083)
        Assuming the laws in the EU are similar to other jurisdictions (and assuming I understand them correctly) it is not illegal to have a monopoly. It is illegal to use that monopoly to block entry into the market or drive smaller competitors out of the market.

        The US FTC can block the acquisition if they feel it is not in the best interest of the industry or the economy. The EU has no jurisdiction over the acquisition and can't simply convict them of being a monopoly until and unless there is an abuse of thei
        • by trifish (826353)
          It is not illegal to become a natural monopoly by chance. However, it is forbidden to buy out your competitors in order to become a monopoly "artificially". THAT can be a reason to forbid the merger or acquisition.
        • Again, assuming the laws in the EU are similar to other jurisdictions.

          And that's where you're most wrong of all. Not only are the laws different in the EU but they are interpreted and used in a different manner. (read more below)

          You said: ..it is not illegal to have a monopoly..

          The whole case against Microsoft in the EU is the best example there is of the difference between passive US regulation and aggressive EU regulation. The EU steps in where the US would wait.

          To quote the LA Times [latimes.com]: "In the U.S., a

      • What's funny about this is the absolute masturbation fest that happens here every time Google farts. But nary a "Here, here!" peep from the minions about the fact that prior to the acquisition by Google, DoubleClick was the most hated entity on the Interweb short of Microsoft? And what would have been the response from the Google Drones had Microsoft succeeded in acquiring DoubleClick? The DoubleStandards are amusing.
        • That's not a double standard. Nobody likes Microsoft or DoubleClick or their business practices. Google has shown themselves to be at least somewhat ethical as a company and beneficial to the advancement of technology. With Google buying DoubleClick, most of us have taken a "wait and see" approach to see if Google reforms some of DoubleClick's least ethical practices, or if it is business as usual. After the acquisition goes through (assuming it does) expect a stink about "do no evil" and some of their prac

          • Google has shown themselves to be at least somewhat ethical as a company...
            Keep on sayn' that... But actual actions (as opposed to PR smoke) show that Google is ethically about the same as most huge publically traded megacorps. Fro example Yahoo...
            • Keep on sayn' that... But actual actions (as opposed to PR smoke) show that Google is ethically about the same as most huge publically traded megacorps.

              Do you have any examples or are you just making shit up? What actions have they taken that you object to? I've heard complaints. The most recent was about their acquisition of a Website statistical analysis company, whose users complained Google had stopped improving the service and left them out in the cold. Of course right after the complaints made news, someone at Google announced they had heard the complaints and were going to push new features out to those users. That right there seems a lot less evi

              • Do you have any examples or are you just making shit up?

                Google has been taken to task concerning Serious Privacy Issues (as I'm sure you have heard). There are other concerns. Point Of Fact: Google can have whatever flowery sounding utopian Company Tag Line they wish ("Do no evil, blah, blah, blah..."), but the bottom line is that they are a for-profit publicly traded corporation whose PRIMARY BUSINESS is not Feel-Good Software For The People, but technology based advertising. They have shown through action

                • Google has been taken to task concerning Serious Privacy Issues (as I'm sure you have heard).

                  Nope. I know they sort through a lot of data in an automated fashion. I know they allow people to find public information some people might wish was not public. I don't have a problem with either of those and I don't see how they would be "evil." As far as I know they have a pretty good track record with regard to not handing over the data they collect to anyone without a proper warrant. Would you care to cite a few specific examples of what you consider evil that they've done?

                  the bottom line is that they are a for-profit publicly traded corporation whose PRIMARY BUSINESS is not Feel-Good Software For The People, but technology based advertising.

                  Don't consider running a

        • You seem to be ignoring the outcry of google being evil every time a google employee walks on the grass ("GRASS IS PEOPLE TOO!!!1!!111 ARE THEY EVILZ YET???1111). There was speculation about these very proceeding when google acquired doubleclick, and people did accuse them of being evil. However, the majority were taking a wait and see stance since google's ads are far less intrusive than all of the ads that came before and most of the ads since.
    • FTC doesn't care and of course the EU does not have any jurisdiction outside its borders. But if they wish to have an actual business-presence in the EU (a market that is on par with the US one) they need local offices and need to follow local laws (same goes for EU compnaies making business in the US). Of course they wouldn't lose all their revenue but I'm pretty shure the majority of the ad buyers would at least think about doing business with someone that is there locally. And the market opening left wou
    • General Electric and Honeywell were going to merge in 2001. The merger got blessing of FTC, but it didn't get the blessing of European Commission, and thus merger was called off as General Electric didn't want to fight and take the matter into European Courts.

      The general question in these cases where two companies are merging, does the combined company via merger gain dominant position in said market. If the answer is yes, there are two possibilities, the merger will be called off or Commission sets remedi

  • by FredDC (1048502) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @09:48AM (#21349057)
    I know alot of money is spent on online advertising, but how effective is it really?

    When I visit a page with advertising like /. I am not able to remember afterwards what the advertisements were... Does anyone really look at them?

    Alot of the big players (Google, Microsoft, ...) are trying to dominate this corner of the advertisement market, which tells me that companies spend alot of money on online advertisement. But do they really profit from this?
    • by GIL_Dude (850471)
      I know I am with you on the "don't notice the ads". That's for the admittedly RARE occasion when I have to use IE to browse. The rest of the time FireFox with adblock plus makes short work of the ads. However, I have to admit that even when browsing with an ad infested browser, I notice the ads but do NOT notice who or what they are for as they are simply annoyances to be avoided until I can find the "printer friendly" version or find the pattern that allows my eyes to get through the page without getting a
      • I don't notice the ads on TV either on the rare occasion when I watch live TV (such as a live sporting event or something)
        What!?!?! Geeks do not watch sports!! You must mean the Discovery channel, or something on KERA like NOVA.
    • by Ngarrang (1023425)
      Let us broaden this question. How effective is any advertisement method? Ad methods are being paid for on some perception that folks will respond. That is simple psychology. Many people tune them out, but enough people apparently follow through with buying the product to make it worth it. For online ads, the prices are crazy cheap and there really is no burden on the ad-provider to provide the ad. Enough people click-through the ads to justify it. Just like enough people respond to spam ads to make i
    • It's a matter of volume - like spam - if you have millions of people seeing the online adds then you don't need a very high hit rate to make them (very) profitable. After all, how many people do you know who have bought Viagra from a spam add, and yet they must work or they wouldn't exist.
    • What you are talking about is brandname awareness. Shout your brand loudly and hope it sticks so that when people go shopping they remember your brand and buy it.

      Google is closer to advertising as it is done in stores. Google "knows" that you are in a hardware site, so they put up a display of something you might want to buy related to that. If you don't remember it or don't even look at it, though, you probably weren't intrested. Supermarkets don't really care if you look at their displays or not. They ar

      • by lil_billy (25771)
        For something to noodle on consider aquantive's proposals are true conversion attribution. Google's entire business model takes advantage of incorrect attribution for consumer brand choice.
      • It is the reason that while shampoo is advertised with gorgeous naked women, it is sold by people fully dressed.
        The solution is clearly to advertise shampoo with fully dressed people saying "The naked women that will compel you to buy our product are at the shop."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ahahahh ohhh catchphrases being parroted and driven into the ground ohhh ahaha my sides!!!!
  • by Meneth (872868)
    If you want it to be possessive, it's just "I-T-S." But, if it's supposed to be a contraction then it's "I-T-apostrophe-S..." scalawag.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @10:53AM (#21349757)

    Last I heard, the closest Google came to being a monopoly was holding 56% of the "internet search advertising" market. That is significantly less market than the general guidelines for investigation into anti-trust normally follow (70% or higher is the norm). The acquisition of Doubleclick is a vertical acquisition. That is to say, acquiring them does not gain Google any more share of that market. Rather it is a complementary market that actually hosts the ads on the cheap and is unrelated to searching. If you broaden the market to either online marketing or marketing in general to include Doubleclick, Google holds a much, much, much smaller share and calling them a monopoly makes no sense at all.

    If Google had a monopoly, there might be concern that they were spreading that monopoly into this new market. As it is, however, one of their main competitors is Microsoft, does have a legally recognized monopoly and has quite obviously tied their monopoly to their internet search ad business via the bundled inclusion of IE and IE's default search settings. So far, the EU has not even bothered addressing that abuse, even though it effects this same market. Of course this is just one of the many monopoly abuses of MS they have not gotten around to yet.

    Please, please, please for the love of Buddha, do not respond to this comment with a reply about Google search in Firefox until you're prepared to explain which one is a monopoly and understand what bundling is and why it is illegal only for monopolies. I'm so tired of explaining Econ 101 here.

  • "...said Google boss Eric Schmidt"

    No malicious reporting there, after all, using the pejorative "boss" instead of the proper title of "CEO" isn't something anyone would notice. Everyone knows Google is evil, you don't need to market it.

    • by Doug Neal (195160)

      "...said Google boss Eric Schmidt"


      No malicious reporting there, after all, using the pejorative "boss" instead of the proper title of "CEO" isn't something anyone would notice. Everyone knows Google is evil, you don't need to market it.

      Is the word "boss" considered pejorative now? To me it just seems slightly more informal.
    • I can't believe no one has an English word negativity index with a Web interface. The words I can think of that could have been used include: Boss, CEO, Chairman, Director, and Head. I'm not sure I'm convinced "boss" is more negatively associated than any of the others, nor am I convinced the usage was intentionally negative instead of accidentally or subconsciously. It could be, but I see no evidence of it.

  • Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem quia voluptas sit aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt. Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt

Per buck you get more computing action with the small computer. -- R.W. Hamming

Working...