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Google Planning Its Own Daily Deals Offers

Publication Date: 
January 22, 2011
Source: 
San Francisco Chronicle
Author: 
Casey Newton and James Temple

The San Francisco Chronicle's Casey Newton and James Temple spoke with Professor Mark Lemley on the subject of antitrust, following the announcement by Google of plans to test a local-deals site. Here is the story:

If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.

A month after Google was spurned in its effort to acquire rapidly growing startup Groupon, the Mountain View company has begun testing a local-deals site of its own.

Google is soliciting small businesses to participate in a test of Google Offers, a vouchers program, the company said. It declined further comment.

A message to merchants posted on Google said the service "makes it easy for you to attract new customers and bring back old ones by enabling you to instantly post discounts and other types of special offers across Google properties."

The move, which comes in the wake of Groupon's board rejecting a reported $6 billion offer from Google, highlights the intense interest in local advertising among Internet companies.

...

Mergers cause antitrust worries "because they reduce the number of actual or potential competitors," said Mark Lemley, a law professor and antitrust expert at Stanford University whose law practice represents Google in unrelated matters. "Entry into the market increases the number of competitors, and antitrust considers that a good thing."