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Originally published April 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 18, 2007 at 2:01 AM

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Google pooh-poohs Microsoft's complaints over DoubleClick

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said Microsoft and AT&T are wrong to claim the acquisition of DoubleClick gives Google too much...

Bloomberg News and The Associated Press

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said Microsoft and AT&T are wrong to claim the acquisition of DoubleClick gives Google too much control over Internet advertising.

And, opening another front in the rivalry between Google and Microsoft, Schmidt said Google plans to launch software similar to Microsoft's popular PowerPoint program as the two companies vie to dominate the online experience.

At a conference Tuesday in San Francisco, Schmidt said the DoubleClick deal is just a part of the "emerging business" of Web advertising and that users have plenty of choices.

Google, the most-used Internet search engine, agreed last week to buy DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, extending its lead in the $28.8 billion global online ad market.

Microsoft, the world's biggest software maker, and AT&T, the largest U.S. phone company, urged regulators to review the deal because of antitrust concerns.

"Did you say Microsoft and AT&T?" Schmidt said, in response to a question Tuesday.

Noting that Microsoft and AT&T have had their share of antitrust skirmishes, he retorted, "Give me a break."

Schmidt said some complaints about the DoubleClick deal came from people who lost the bidding competition. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Microsoft was involved in the bidding process.

Microsoft has long dominated the computer desktop with its Windows operating system.

But people are increasingly using home pages, bookmarks, search engines and other Web-based programs to determine where they shop, how they communicate and how they play videos, music and movies.

Microsoft and Google already offer e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet programs and other tools.

Google's new presentation software will compete against Microsoft's ubiquitous PowerPoint software that's part of its popular Office suite.

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"This completes what most users of PCs consider the Office suite," said John Battelle, who leads Federated Media Publishing.

Microsoft spokeswoman Lisa Koetz said competition is good for customers and that Microsoft is listening to the 450 million people who use Microsoft Office to ensure it is meeting their needs.

"The success we are seeing with the 2007 release of Microsoft Office tells us we are heading in the right direction," Koetz said.

People use Google's software over the Internet and can log in from any computer through a Web browser, while Microsoft Office must be installed on an individual computer.

Google would not release more details about the presentation software, though product manager Rajen Sheth said users could store documents online and let anyone with a free Google account view the slides, spreadsheets or documents online.

Google will give away two versions of the presentation software starting this summer, and it will sell a "Premier" version with extra storage for $50 per year.

The presentation program is part of Google Docs & Spreadsheets, which the company has been unveiling piecemeal for nearly a year.

Schmidt, who used a beta version to flash slides at the conference, downplayed the Microsoft rivalry.

"It does not have all the functionality nor is it intended to have all functionality of Microsoft Office," he said.

But Schmidt quickly added, "It seems to be a better fit to how people use the Web."

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