Schmidt says he fears for the openness of the Internet if deal goes through
BEIJING -- Google Inc. CEO Eric Schmidt said today that he would be concerned about the free flow of information on the Internet if Microsoft Corp. were to succeed in acquiring Yahoo Inc.

Last month, Microsoft proposed buying Yahoo in a deal originally worth $44.6 billion, but Yahoo's board rejected the offer, saying it was too low.

"We would be concerned by any kind of acquisition of Yahoo by Microsoft," Schmidt told reporters. "We would hope that anything they did would be consistent with the openness of the Internet, but I doubt it would be."

Schmidt pointed to Microsoft's history and "the things that it has done that have been so difficult for everyone," but he did not elaborate.

Last year, a European court upheld a $695 million fine along with a landmark 2004 ruling that Microsoft abused the near-monopoly power of its Windows operating system to damage competitors.

"We are concerned that there are things Microsoft could do that would be bad for the Internet," Schmidt said.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pledged earlier this month that his company will gain market share against Google in online advertising and Web searching, even if it leads to his "last breath" at the company.

In a Reuters poll of financial analysts, the overwhelming majority said they believe Microsoft will eventually succeed in buying Yahoo, but many said they feel it may not be the best use of its ample cash reserves.