Google, the powerful online search service, is coming under attack from enemies including Microsoft and AT&T, report Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein. The company's enemies include business competitors; traditional advertisers, who are losing revenues to online advertising; and internet service providers whose interests clash with Google's support for net neutrality. Last year, Thompson and Vogelstein note, the anti-Google coalition got the U.S. Department of Justice to kill a proposed business deal between Google and the Yahoo! company. "Microsoft hired lobbyists who knew how to drum up support among rural and Latino groups, and before long organizations as far-reaching as the American Corn Growers Association and the Dominican American Business Network had voiced their opposition," they write. For PR support in that campaign, Microsoft turned to LMG, a secretive Washington DC public affairs firm that specializes in astroturf campaigns. Thompson and Vogelstein expect the anti-Google campaign to intensify in 2009, with a focus on painting the company as a threat to personal privacy.
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