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March 11, 2008

EU Clears Google-DoubleClick, Privacy Out In the Cold

The European Union cleared the merger between Google and DoubleClick today without any particular conditions attached.  The U.S Department of Justice cleared the deal some months ago.  Now all that remains is for Google to take possession and integrate DoubleClick into the vast Google empire.  The EU did not address privacy concerns in its statement approving the merger.  The concern had been that combining Google's knowledge of users with that of DoubleClick would create a vast database of user habits that no single company should have.  Microsoft and Yahoo! were both suitors to DoubleClick and lost out in the bidding, which makes one wonder if they would be better stewards of this information.  That is doubtful.  The EU looked at market competition in the ad business and stated that Google could not monopolize the ad market as there were credible and substantial alternatives, such as Microsoft, Yahoo!, and AOL, at least until any of those merge.   The story is in, appropriately enough, the AP via Google.

While we're on the subject of privacy, tracking web habits, and the like, it's worthwhile to take a look at this story in the New York Times.  The Times and comScore have teamed up to produce a study that attempts to quantify just how much Internet users are tracked by various companies.  Yahoo! collected the most data with about 110 billion collections per month and Yahoo! pages.  And this company thinks that Google owning DoubleClick is a bad idea.  Moreover, this company pales in comparison to the amount of money Google makes.  It's no wonder that Microsoft wants this company given the treasure trove of untapped revenue from targeted ads.

March 11, 2008 | Permalink

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