WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leading Republican lawmaker asked the Justice Department on Tuesday to “thoroughly investigate” antitrust and privacy issues in a search advertising partnership planned by Google Inc and Yahoo Inc.
Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, expressed frustration at Yahoo’s response to questions Barton and his staff had posed about the deal, which would allow Yahoo to use Google advertisements on its search.
Many advertisers have objected to the deal, which was initially announced in June, because of fears of higher prices, since Google and Yahoo have more than 80 percent of the search market.
“I am writing you to request that the Department of Justice thoroughly investigate issues of competition and privacy that Yahoo failed to address fully in responding to questions about the online search advertising partnership between Google and Yahoo,” Barton wrote in a letter.
The letter was dated Tuesday and addressed to Thomas Barnett, head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division.
Barton also expressed frustration at Yahoo’s responses to his inquiries about the deal, saying they “seemed designed to obscure rather than clarify how the Google-Yahoo deal would work.”
And Barton asked Yahoo about a complaint that some Yahoo officials may have worried that working with Google would result in an “effective monopoly.” Barton characterized Yahoo’s response as “a masterwork of crude redactions.”
Representatives of Yahoo and Google had no immediate comment.
Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by Gerald E. McCormick