Google Inc. raised the specter of Microsoft Corp. using its proposed $42 billion acquisition of Yahoo Inc. to gain illegal control over the Internet, underscoring the online search leader’s queasiness about its two biggest rivals teaming up.
The critical remarks, posted online Sunday by Google’s top lawyer, represented the Mountain View-based company’s first public reaction to Microsoft’s unsolicited bid for Yahoo since the offer was announced Friday.
“Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo raises troubling questions,” David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, wrote. “This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.”
Google’s opposition isn’t a surprise, given that Microsoft views Yahoo as a crucial weapon in its battle to gain ground on Google in the Internet’s booming search and advertising markets.
Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft has been trying to depict a Yahoo takeover as a boon for both advertisers and consumers because the two companies together would be able to compete against Google more effectively.
But Google is painting a starkly different picture, asserting that Microsoft will be able to stifle innovation and leverage its dominating Windows operating system to set up personal computers so consumers are automatically steered to online services, such as e-mail and instant messaging, controlled by the world’s largest software maker.
In a move that illustrates just how badly Google wants to torpedo the deal, Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt called Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang Friday to offer his help in repelling Microsoft,