updated 2/21/2008 5:35:27 PM ET 2008-02-21T22:35:27

Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin called Microsoft Corp.'s takeover bid for Yahoo Inc. an "unnerving" maneuver that threatens innovation on the Internet.

Brin reiterated the Internet search leader's position that a merger could violate antitrust laws and harm Internet users.

(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)

Brin made the comment after an event at the Mountain View-based company's headquarters for the Google Lunar X Prize, a race to land a privately funded robotic spacecraft on the moon.

"The Internet has evolved from open standards, having a diversity of companies," Brin told The Associated Press after the event. "And when you start to have companies that control the operating system, control the browsers, they really tie up the top Web sites, and can be used to manipulate stuff in various ways. I think that's unnerving."

Shortly after Microsoft unveiled its surprise $44.6 billion unsolicited offer for Yahoo earlier this month, Google's chief legal officer David Drummond argued in a company blog posting that a merger between companies that control the Internet's two most heavily trafficked Web portals could lead to abuses. Those could be limiting users' ability to easily access competing products, from e-mail to instant messaging to Web-based services such as those Google offers.

Microsoft has argued that it's committed to protecting innovation on the Internet and that scuttling the deal would allow Google to become even more dominant on the Internet than it already is.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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