Google said to be possible target of U.S. FTC antitrust probe

“Google Inc.’s dominance of the Internet-search industry is being considered for a broad antitrust investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, two people familiar with the matter said,” Jeff Bliss and Sara Forden report for Bloomberg.

“Before proceeding with any probe, the FTC is awaiting a decision by the Justice Department on whether it will challenge Google’s planned acquisition of ITA Software Inc. as a threat to competition in the travel-information search business, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter is still confidential,” Bliss and Forden report. “An FTC investigation of Google, the world’s most popular search engine, ‘could be on par’ with the scope of the Justice Department’s probe of Microsoft Corp. a decade ago, said Keith Hylton, an antitrust law professor at Boston University School of Law. Google ‘could fight the FTC, but that’s going to cost a lot of money and time.'”

“FTC Commissioner Thomas Rosch said in an interview last month he supported a probe of the dominant players in the Internet-search industry, without specifying which companies. Rosch, one of two Republicans on the five-member commission, is the only commissioner to say publicly that such an investigation is in order,” Bliss and Forden report. “The people familiar with the matter said any investigation of the search industry should concentrate on Mountain View, California-based Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine.”

“Lawmakers including Senator Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, have urged the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust to hold a hearing on Google’s dominance of Internet businesses,” Bliss and Forden report. “Herb Kohl, the Wisconsin Democrat who heads the panel, has said he’s examining Google.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sarah” for the heads up.]

9 Comments

  1. “Lawmakers…have urged the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust to hold a hearing on Google’s dominance of Internet businesses.”

    Is it just me, or do people get the sense that politicians don’t know how the Internet works when they make references to “dominance of Internet businesses”? Say Google’s “dominance of search” or something that allows me to believe you even know what you’re investigating.

    1. 1. Those words were penned by the author. They were not quoted from any Senator.
      2. Google is a lot more than “Search”, but they don’t yet sell pots and pans. Internet Businesses seems like an “OK” description to me.

  2. What? No political comments on Fed intrusion into private enterprise? Could it be because the only public statement supporting such an investigation came from FTC Commissioner Thomas Rosch, a (gasp) Republican?!

    Shoes go on both feet, folks. Not all investigations (or regulations) are evil, socialist plots.

  3. Google should be broken up like Microsft was in it’s anti-trust government probe. Oh waitaminute, that never happened. I’m sure this time it’ll be different – not.

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