Feb 5, 2008 115 reads by Navneet Kaushal

If you thought Google's the only entity spewing fire against a possible merger, you could be mistaken. The proposed deal is drawing a lot of ire from Privacy groups who seem to have vowed to a fight before U.S. regulatory agencies if Microsoft's $44.6 billion bid is accepted. On similar lines the deal could face obstacles in Europe too. This could be so because the European Union merger statutes disallow any dominant companies to further increase their dominance.

The executive directors of the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) have expressed that the acquisition could raise serious privacy concerns.

CDDs next move would be to seek a scrutiny of the deal from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and Congress. Jeffrey Chester, CDD's executive director said, "scrutinize this deal and impose the needed safeguards for it…and the industry."

If CDD and EPIC failed attempt of trying to stop Google's proposed acquisition of online ad service DoubleClick on privacy grounds last year is to be considered, then the deal might not be affected by the their attempts.

Chester expressed his concerns pointing to the consequences of the deal, "(the deal would) create a powerful interactive Internet duopoly in online media,…Google and Microsoft will have inordinate power to shape 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."

The other point of emphasis from Chester was that fresh laws and regulations that protect consumer data need to be formulated, "In an era when individuals are increasingly conducting their personal, social and political lives online, the corporations that control the digital experience will have a far-reaching influence over every aspect of society,…Consumers will be more vulnerable to having their personal information become the property of the GoogleClick's and Microhoo's."

Some cite FTCs decision to allow Google to purchase DoubleClick encouraged Microsoft to move ahead with the bid. Others opine that a consolidation of the market would mean that user data would be held by a small number of companies. This would be quite dichotomous with the fact as the new media environment has brought up unlimited choices, people's activities would be shaped and tracked by a tiny number of companies, whose focus is more towards revenues from advertising than by public interest.

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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