When Google pulled out of its proposed search advertising deal with Yahoo last month, it was chief legal counsel David Drummond who made the announcement. He cited concerns of a “protracted legal battle,” but only now do we learn that the Justice Department was only three hours away from filing an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal. Sandy Litvack, the prosecutor hired by the justice Department to head up the case, tells Am Law Daily:
We were going to file the complaint at a certain time during the day. We told them we were going to file the complaint at that time of day. Three hours before, they told us they were abandoning the agreement.
. . . It would have ended up also alleging that Google had a monopoly and that [the advertising pact] would have furthered their monopoly.
When it came down to the wire, Google blinked. It was the right move. But Google is on notice that the DOJ considers it a near-monopoly, and will treat it as such if need be. At least until the Obama Administration takes over. Then Google CEO Eric Schmidt can remind them how hard he campaigned for them to win.
(Photo by CarbonNYC).