EU asks the customers' opinion on the DoubleClick -Google affair
As Google plans to buy out U.S. web advertising supplier DoubleClick, the
European Commission has already sent questionnaires to Google customers on
the matter, even before Google has actually filed to the European Union’s
top antitrust regulator for the purchase.
This is considered a rather unusual step as although the European Commission
has frequently sent questionnaires to customers, it has done so once a deal
has been formally filed and not before.
Google is indeed expected to file for the about 2.29 billion euro purchase
of DoubleClick as the company announced its intention to do so in its press
release on 13 April 2007. The European Commission will examine the deal
after it has been filed, to check for competitiveness.
The European Commissions’ action to send questionnaires to customers is
probably due to the complexity of the issue. Concerns have been raised since
the deal was announced by Google.
BEUC (the European Bureau of Consumers’ Unions) asked EU support in checking
the private aspects of such a deal. It also drew the attention upon the fact
that DoubleClick customers who have introduced private data in the system
have not been asked about such a deal that would mean their data will be now
with Google. US customer protection groups have also addressed the American
Federal Trade Commission on the matter. The concerned parties argue that
Google, after getting DoubleClick, will acquire an unprecedented access to
information on Internet users’ behaviour and that it may gain the monopole
over online advertising.
EU questions Google customers over DoubleClick (6.09.2007)
Google to Acquire DoubleClick – Google press release (13.04.2007)
EDRI-gram: BEUC expresses concern over DoubleClick acquisition by Google