Yahoo/Microsoft anti-trust probe could still dash deal

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deal.jpgADOTAS — Google might not even be Microhoo’s biggest obstacle. 

Regulators in the US and Europe still need to OK the recent deal that combined Yahoo and Microsoft search marketplaces. Microsoft will power Yahoo search while Yahoo will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies’ premium search advertisers.

Despite the fact that Google holds a dominant, near monopoly position, including more than 70 percent of all search, the proposal still has major obstacles to win over anti-trust officials. The partnership has a better chance than an earlier Google-Yahoo plan because it would combine the second and third players in the search market instead of the top two, Melissa Maxman, head of the antitrust practice group at Baker & Hostetler LLP, told the Associated Press.

But antitrust regulators could decide that Microsoft and Yahoo don’t absolutely need each other to compete effectively with Google.

 “There is no reason that with the right management and right strategy that it can’t remain a viable third alternative in the search market,” Matthew Cantor, a New York attorney specializing in antitrust law, told the AP.  Antitrust regulators generally frown on deals that create duopolies, unless one of the players can show it needs to bow out of a cutthroat competition to stay alive, he added.

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