Blog Post

DOJ Hound Wanted To Sink Teeth Into Google-Yahoo Deal

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Looks like Jerry Yang and the rest of the Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) gang weren’t the only ones sad to see the search outsourcing deal with Google (NSDQ: GOOG) die. Sanford Litvack, a lawyer the Department of Justice hired specifically to examine the deal, was hungry for the chance to take the two giants on in court. “Of course I was looking forward to it. We felt pretty good about it, we felt pretty confident,” Litvack said, in an interview with The Am Law Daily. He revealed that the companies abandoned the pact just three hours before the DOJ was set to file a laundry list of complaints.

Complaint specifics: Litvack said the DOJ would have alleged that “Google had a monopoly” in search and that the deal would have extended it. The charges would have been that the deal violated two parts of the Sherman Act: Section 1, which bans agreements that restrain trade unreasonably, and Section 2, which says its against the law for a company to monopolize or attempt to monopolize trade.

More after the jump

Microsoft’s lobbying wasn’t a factor: Though MSFT sustained aggressive lobbying efforts, Litvack said that the company’s offensive didn’t sway him (or the DOJ) in either direction.

Google’s still in the DOJ’s crosshairs: Meanwhile, the DOJ publicly outed Google’s pre-deal search market share numbers — which Litvack said “may or may not” have been a warning about future antitrust actions. Still it’s definitely a hint that The Department is keeping a close eye on Google’s search-related moves. The companies had even tried to tweak the deal in the hopes of garnering the DOJ’s approval, but the increased scrutiny may have been what drove Google to back away from it first.