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Kohl: "Pretty explosive stuff" on hearing Microsoft's testimony of Yahoo's collusive admission

Blogging from the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, there was a very surprising development several minutes ago.

  • Chairman Kohl characterized as "pretty explosive stuff" how Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith recounted what Yahoo Ceo Jerry Yang told Microsoft last month in a meeting with several witnesses.
  • Per Microsoft's Smith: Jerry Yang said that the search market was "bi-polar" with Google on one pole and others on the other pole.
    • Yang indicated that Yahoo was going to join the Google "pole" because the other pole was not viable. 

Under oath, Senator Spector followed up on the Chairman's interchange and asked Brad Smith if he stood by this characterization of CEO Yang's "bipolar" comments -- and he replied "absolutely!"

  • When Senator Spector asked, in a prosecutor's style, if Yahoo's General Counsel  was at that meeting, he said he was but that he did "not recall" Yang's "bi-polar" comment and disagreed with Microsoft's characterization. 

As anyone in Washington appreciates, and Senators Kohl and Spector certainly appreciated, someone was not telling the truth.

  • I strongly believe that the DOJ will want to depose all the witnesses at that meeting, under oath and under penalty of perjury, about that comment and whether it is true or not. 

If Microsoft's testimony was true, which I believe it was, because of the serious personal risk of perjury to Mr. Smith, it is "pretty explosive stuff" as Chairman Kohl described. 

Bottom line: This is the type of "smoking gun" evidence of collusion that prosecutors always dream about because it uses the words of someone who should know, Yahoo's CEO, to describe what the real intent was behind the Google-Yahoo partnership.  

  • Clearly, the plot has thickened from the testimony in this antitrust hearing.