NEW YORK—Burson-Marsteller has been working with software giant Microsoft on a campaign to rally opposition to Google’s efforts to acquire competitor DoubleClick.
Microsoft has raised concerns over Google’s increasingly dominant market position and objected to Google’s proposed takeover of DoubleClick, which would bring together the two largest advertising distributors on the Internet. The Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. has launched an investigation into the deal, and Google itself has asked the European Commision to investigate.
The U.K. newspaper The Observer reported on an e-mail sent by Jonathan Dinkeldein, a director at Burson-Marsteller, to a number of major U.K. businesses, urging them to join a new organization, the Initiative for Competitive Online Marketplaces and calling on board members to raise the issue of Google’s dominance in the search engine market with politicians, regulators and the media.
Dinkeldein told the publication that B-M was working with Microsoft on the initiative and that the software giant had formed the iCOMP group, which exists “to highlight important principles in online services and begin important industry discussions around copyright, privacy, and competition.” He said more than 30 organizations in 10 countries have signed an online petition supporting the group.
The first principle of the petition says that “regulators should carefully scrutinize any transactions in the online advertising sector that would create or enhance a dominant market position, substantially reduce existing or future competition, or leave advertisers, online publishers, or consumers with fewer options.”
According to Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans: “Like others, we believe this proposed merger raises serious questions about the future of competition in the online advertising market, as well as about consumer privacy and copyright protection.”
But the Observer claimed that several executives contacted by Burson-Marsteller were concerned that the company had not revealed the Microsoft connection in its e-mail.