Despite fierce lobbying by Microsoft, Yahoo, and consumer advocates, the European Commission has allowed Google to snap up DoubleClick.
Rivals argued that the $3.1 billion merger between Google, which has a huge market in text ads, and DoubleClick, which serves up graphical Web banner ads, would help create a monopoly in the online advertising market. In December, the U.S. Justice Department disagreed.
Now, so too have European regulators, who said in a statement:
Google CEO Eric Schmidt says in a press release that approval of the merger will improve ads for advertisers and Web surfers.
Consumer advocates wary of an all-knowing, all-seeing Google are likely to take a dim view. Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, just sent over his views in an e-mail:
Chester also warns that the decision paves the way for Microsoft's gobbling up of Yahoo. "By permitting Google to dramatically grow in clout, regulators will have to likely permit the further growth of a No. 2 competitor to Google -- which will be Microsoft."
Let's say "hooray" for duopoly!