Microsoft got its wish and there will be a second stage investigation by the Federal Trade Commission of the Google acquisition of Internet ad firm DoubleClick. The news was broken by Steve Lohr at the NY Times this morning and confirmed by Google later in the day:
Google is confident the FTC will conclude the acquisition “poses no risk to competition,” Google said in the statement.
Several independent analysts have determined that “the online advertising industry is a dynamic and evolving space … and that rich competition in this industry will bring more relevant ads to consumers and more choices for advertisers and Web site publishers,” the company said.
The company pointed to other companies’ recent acquisitions in the online advertising market as evidence of competition there.
Microsoft’s subsequent acquisition of aQuantive Inc figures prominently in the talking points.
Also, the investigation may open a real can of worms for all Internet advertising sellers, including Microsoft, since the FTC apparently plans to investigate the privacy aspects of the deal, not just its effects on competition. You may recall that Microsoft touts its adCenter advertising platform as offering better demographic targeting than competitors, which is the polite way of saying they think they know a lot about their search and MSN/Windows Live users.