In a long-overdue move, the Federal Trade Commission has given its blessing to Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) proposed pairing with DoubleClick.
The deal enhances Google's market dominance in online advertising by uniting its text-based marketing superiority with DoubleClick's strength in display advertising and ad-serving resources.
Now that antitrust regulators are backing off, Google is a major step closer to finalizing the $3.1 billion transaction.
The move is bad news for Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) , which had voiced its objections to the union. Get over it, Mr. Softy. What is a serial bully doing egging on antitrust regulators? Didn't Microsoft just spend twice as much as Google in snapping up interactive marketing giant aQuantive earlier this year?
But on the other hand, it's easy to understand why Microsoft was trying to throw nails under Google's tires. Google is Microsoft's biggest threat, and every strategic move it makes puts them one step closer to an inevitable head-on collision. You see it in Microsoft broadening its online advertising reach, landing recent deals with Web traffic magnets like Facebook and Viacom (NYSE: VIA ) .
The butting of heads becomes even more evident when you analyze Google's moves into Web-based software applications, mobile browsers, and desktop search. Why play "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" when nearly every move Google makes is one degree removed from Steve Ballmer?
DoubleClick isn't a done deal. European regulators are also sniffing around. Google's hope there is that it isn't a globetrotting winner. Baidu.com (Nasdaq: BIDU ) is the top dog in China. Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) is also a force in several key foreign markets. The European Commission has been brutal when it comes to Microsoft, but no one is forcing Google on computer buyers. Approval won't be easy, but Google now has enough momentum to start dreaming about the combination that has taken way too long to materialize.
I mean, come on now. Am I the only one who remembers when no one wanted to touch DoubleClick for fear of catching cooties? Rather than trying to take down Google, everyone else should be scratching their heads as to why no one has built a better Google.