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Peter Thomas, Mar 17, 2008
Google’s proposed acquisition of DoubleClick generated significant controversy when it was announced in early 2007. Complainants (many of whom were competitors of Google) raised a number of superficially plausible but inaccurate claims. One of the most prominent was that the two firms were “horizontal competitors” in online advertising. The combined company, critics claimed, would end up dominating the industry. However, what these critics failed to recognize, and what the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and European Commission correctly concluded, was that the two firms were at best potential competitors in each other’s markets, and that those markets were already robustly competitive and becoming more so each day.