US Hires Top Lawyer to Mull Google-Yahoo Antitrust Case

Step in possible antitrust case against Internet giants
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 9, 2008 9:39 AM CDT
Projected images of Google and Yahoo are shown on the floor of Google's New York office on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – The Justice Department has hired a top lawyer to review a possible antitrust case against the Google-Yahoo advertising deal, which would give the companies control of 80% of web search ads, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sanford Litvack, a former Disney vice-chairman, was Jimmy Carter’s antitrust chief. While officials have been deposing witnesses and collecting documents for weeks, it’s not yet certain they'll go to court.

It's also not clear, the Journal reports, whether the case would target the Google-Yahoo deal alone or broader aspects of Google's dominance in the online-advertising business. Given that dominance, a case against the company could be a landmark in regulating Internet competition. The web giant says the deal is pro-competition and that it would be “premature” to judge it before it takes effect, but advertisers and Microsoft have expressed concerns about its fairness.