I don’t have time to carry on at length about today’s Senate hearing on the Google-Yahoo search ads price-fixing deal, so here are a couple of pieces written before the hearing that put in its proper perspective.
For your cocktail, try a bit of Information Week, a straight-up tongue loosener.
For your appetizer, enjoy Washington insider and tech buff Declan McCullagh on the revolving arguments:
The U.S. Senate is holding a hearing Tuesday on the antitrust implications of the Google-Yahoo ad deal, and the two companies, along with Microsoft, are testifying. You should expect sober, selfless discussions conducted with the public’s best interests in mind.
Or not. In reality, Microsoft will offer fanciful claims about the alleged detrimental impact of a Google-Yahoo partnership, just as Google offered fanciful claims a few months ago about the alleged detrimental impact of a Microsoft-Yahoo combination.
And for your main course, read Scott Cleland on the importance of advertising earnestly:
This is now a broad antitrust investigation of whether:
* Google and Yahoo are illegally colluding to reduce competition and/or fix prices;
* Google is more broadly abusing its market power illegally to impede competition from its #2 and #3 search advertising competitors Yahoo and Microsoft; and
* Google is abusing its market power in a myriad of ways, for example, â€œraising the minimum bids on keywords swiftly and steeply.â€
And for desert, enjoy Andrew Orlowski’s incredibly insightful analysis of the importance of search ad competition for the future of the Internet economy:
So Google has been readying itself for regulatory intervention for several years. It lobbies extensively, and thanks to its reach-out program to politicians and wonks, now owns a fair chunk of mindshare among the political elites. With its private “Zeitgeist” conference – an annual orgy of self-glorification – it reaches over the heads of representatives and and hacks to the political leaders and media owners themselves. In the UK, there’s a revolving door between the two major parties and Google.
Politicians can sprinkle a little of the future on themselves just by rubbing up against the web giant.
As Microsoft discovered, fortuitously, this is money well-spent. A sympathetic Bush administration dissolved the DoJ’s will to impose tough penalties against Microsoft more effectively than any lawyer or economist.
And finally, have some nuts with your brandy in the form of the testimony submitted to the hearing, which is just as Declan said it would be.
After I’ve seen the video of the hearing, I’ll have something else to say.