Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon.com to Oppose Google Book Settlement

Posted on August 21, 2009

The Google Book Settlement is now facing even more objections. In addition to a class action suit filed in Manhattan by attorney and author Scott Grant, Google is now facing much bigger foes. Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon.com have all teamed up to object to the settlement.
Peter Brantley, a director at coalition co-founder Internet Archive said the group, whose members will be formally disclosed in the next couple of weeks, is being co-led by Gary Reback, a Silicon Valley lawyer involved in the Department of Justice's antitrust investigation against Microsoft Corp. last decade. Microsoft, Amazon.com Inc. and Yahoo Inc. have agreed to join the group. Mr. Reback did not reply to requests for comment.

Microsoft and Yahoo confirmed their participation. Amazon declined to comment. The coalition is the latest sign that Google's rapid ascent has made it a prime target for competitors, just as Microsoft was reviled as the industry's bully in the 1990s.

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The U.S. Justice Department and state attorneys general are continuing to investigate the settlement and have been discussing their concerns with Google, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers. The Justice Department sent the U.S. District Court reviewing the agreement a letter last month saying that it was investigating the agreement. The court gave the Justice Department until Sept. 18 to submit any concerns in writing.

But some of Google's close commercial rivals have held their fire publicly, while sharing their views with regulators.
Aha, so that's what's been going on. Amazon, Microsoft and Yahoo have actually been very upset by the deal all along. But instead of going to the press, they went to the Justice Department. Interesting.

Google defended the settlement in a statement, saying: "The Google Books settlement is injecting more competition into the digital books space, so it's understandable why our competitors might fight hard to prevent more competition."