Did Google Barely Escape Antitrust Charges?

    December 4, 2008
    Chris Crum

As you’re no doubt aware, Google and Yahoo had a search advertising deal going earlier this year, but turbulence from possible-antitrust complaints and Department of Justice scrutiny ultimately led to Google backing out of the deal.

Some interesting information is being reported now though. Nate Raymond at AMLaw Daily says that Google called off the deal only three hours before the DoJ intended to actually file antitrust charges. This information comes from the lawyer, Sanford "Sandy" Litvack,  who would have been the government’s lead counsel.

"We were going to file the complaint at a certain time during the day," says Litvack, who rejoins Hogan & Hartson today. "We told them we were going to file the complaint at that time of day. Three hours before, they told us they were abandoning the agreement."

Eric SchmidtGoogle backed out of the deal, because they didn’t feel it would’ve been in the company’s best interest to go through legal battles. This much has been clear. About a month ago, when asked about the Yahoo deal by the New York Times, Eric Schmidt implied that he was confident that Google would have won a trial if they had continued to pursue the deal, but felt that it wasn’t in the company’s best interest due to the likely high cost and length of time that it would have taken.

He didn’t mention that charges were about to be filed in a few hours, however. I’m sure the blogosphere will have plenty to say about this. But regardless, both companies have moved on, and the deal is history.