Google can fuel Yahoo Japan's search engine without violating antitrust rules, said Japan's Fair Trade Commission. The move casts a long shadow on Microsoft's plans for Japan.
Google Dec. 2 won approval to power Yahoo Japan's search
engine from Japan's Fair Trade Commission, a victory that has Microsoft worried
about its prospects for Bing in that country.
Japan's FTC said the deal wouldn't violate antitrust
rules as it currently stands because it is limited to a sharing of technology,
according to the Wall Street Journal
"We have not found any evidence that they are
collaborating by sharing sensitive information such as ad pricing or any other
problematic ways," said Takujiro Kono, head of the consultation and
guidance office at Japan's FTC.
Yahoo Japan in July
Google's search engine and search advertising platforms over counterpart platforms
from parent company Yahoo and Microsoft, whose Bing search and AdCenter
platforms are powering Yahoo in several countries.
Tapping Google will help the world's leading search
engine command 90 percent of searches in Japan, an extraordinary number.
Google's share of U.S. search is 66 percent, more than twice that of rivals
Yahoo and Microsoft combined.
Microsoft argued then that the arrangement would actually
give Google closer to 100 percent of search in Japan, sparking a major
The software giant, whose search engine Yahoo Japan said
was not powerful enough to pick, maintained its argument in a statement sent to
eWEEK Dec. 2.
"Microsoft is disappointed that the JFTC decided not
to initiate a formal investigation to review the proposed Google-Yahoo Japan
deal. In the months since this agreement was announced, it has become clear
that there is significant industry and public concern, particularly given the
fact that Google will control nearly 100 percent of the Japanese search and
search advertising market."
Microsoft said Japan's approval means it will have to
think about its business plans in Japan going forward.
that the Japanese FTC's ruling is sound because Yahoo Japan will also continue
to compete as an independent search and ad company.
"We believe this is the correct outcome for a number
of reasons, including the fact that the license will be non-exclusive, and both
parties will be free to explore better products and services and work with
third parties as they see fit," a spokesperson told eWEEK.
"Competition between Google and Yahoo Japan, as well
as others in the online advertising market, will remain vigorous because our
advertising operations will stay independent of one another, and there is
competition with other online advertising service providers."
As 2010 winds to a close, Google is increasingly defending itself
against allegations of anticompetitive behavior.
In Europe, search rivals claim Google is freezing them
out on Google.com. In the United States, its offer to buy travel software
specialist ITA Software is being
by travel companies and investigated by the Justice Department.