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Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has started playing the “evil empire” card over the very real possibility Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) will succeed in its bid for Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). Evoking Redmond’s European antitrust battles, CEO Eric Schmidt told reporters in Beijing (via Reuters): “Microsoft’s past history and the things it has done that have been so difficult for everyone. We would hope that anything they did would be consistent with the openness of the internet, but I doubt it would be.” In a Portfolio Q&A, he says the merger would “diminish choice” – ironic, considering the size of Google’s search-and-ads share. DJ: Schmidt also said Google could weather a recession because its advertising was “highly measurable”.
Meanwhile, a Reuters poll of 23 analysts finds 22 believe MS will win Yahoo in the end, and the majority reckon it won’t have to raise the price, though some argue it’s not a wise use of cash. The companies reportedly met in person last week for the first time since Microsoft’s February 1 offer.