Aw shucks. Microsoft is standing up for the little guys

This morning’s Observer column

Wearing his best public-spirited citizen look, Bradford Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, told the New York Times that Google’s proposed acquisition would ‘combine the two largest distributors of online advertising’ and thus ‘substantially reduce competition in the advertising market on the web’. Between them, Citizen Smith continued, Google and Doubleclick deliver ‘over 80 per cent of the adverts delivered to website publishers, so their combination in a single company has big ramifications’.

Call me Panglossian, but this is encouraging news. One looks forward to General Counsel Smith advising his employer that its 92 per cent control of the market for operating systems also has ‘big ramifications’…