EU joins the ongoing scrutiny of the Yahoo-Google ad deal

While Yahoo's deal with Google directly affects only the US and Canada, the European Commission is currently investigating the potentially pond-hopping impact on the availability of advertising resources worldwide.

The European Commission's zealous consideration for a fair and competitive market has brought many, if not all, of technology's biggest companies before the judicious eyes of Commissioner for Competitiveness Neelie Kroes. Now, Reuters reports the deal between Google and Yahoo -- which is slated to only affect Yahoo search pages for North American Web users -- has been brought to Kroes' attention.

Before a deal was even reached, the US Department of Justice was primed to step in. No fewer than sixteen groups spoke out to the DOJ that the collaboration would represent an anti-competitive trust if not suitably reviewed and regulated. Last week, the DOJ brought in Sanford Litvack, antitrust chief during the Carter administration, to listen to the formal investigation currently taking place. Many have construed this as the signal of an impending antitrust suit.

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But involving the EC's Competition Commission in its own could prove to expedite the deal's passage or dismissal. The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) has taken credit for bringing the effects of the deal to the EC's attention.

The group says it made pleas to the DOJ's Antitrust Division, the EC's Competition Directorate, and the Competition Bureau of Canada to ensure they were aware that the deal could seriously alter the current ad market.

"The competition that currently exists between Google and Yahoo is absolutely essential to ensuring that our member titles receive competitive returns for online advertising on their sites, and for obtaining competitive prices when they purchase paid search advertising," WAN's president Gavin O'Reilly said. The WAN represents over 18,000 newspapers across the globe.

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