Microsoft’s Regulatory Push: A Defense Against Google Or An Attempt To Ease Anti-Trust Scrutiny?

While much of the online ad industry clings to the hope that the Federal Trade Commission and state legislatures will continue to trust the industry to “self-police” when it comes to behavioral targeting, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has been taking a much different tack. As AdAge reports, Microsoft is backing two separate bills — one in New York in and another in Connecticut — that would erect curbs to online ad companies’ ability to gather user data for behavioral targeting. The New York bill would compel sites to offer simple methods for opting out of having their online usage tracked by third parties. Connecticut’s proposed legislation would force websites to delineate how and what companies are gathering their user data.

As we mentioned last month, Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), AOL (NYSE: TWX), Facebook and others banded together to fight the New York bill. The companies’ argument: the regulatory efforts are both unnecessary and unconstitutional, ie that states can