FTC to serve Google with subpoenas in far-reaching antitrust probe

“The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is poised to serve Google Inc. with civil subpoenas… signaling the start of a wide-ranging, formal antitrust investigation into whether the search giant has abused its dominance on the Web,” Thomas Catan reports for The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

“The five-member commission is preparing to send Google the formal demands for information within days, the people said,” Catan reports. “Other companies are also likely receive official requests for information about their dealings with Google at a later stage, they said.”

Catan reports, “From Google’s perspective, the FTC’s embryonic antitrust probe is the most serious to date in the U.S… [as it] will examine fundamental issues relating to Google’s core search advertising business, which still accounts for the overwhelming majority of its revenues. Those will include whether Google—which accounts for around two-thirds of internet searches in the U.S. and more abroad—unfairly channels users to its own growing network of services at the expense of rivals’.”

Read more in the full article here.

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

17 Comments

  1. Well, it’s about damn time. Won’t it be interesting to see what the FTC uncovers during their investigation. “Don’t be evil”…. may come back to haunt those wacky Googlers.

  2. The FTC is a lapdog- a victim of regulatory “capture” where the fixes get to guard the henhouse. This happens when “business friendly” politicians appoint industry tools to regulatory boards. There are “business friendly” pols on both sides of the aisle, but the problem is endemic in the G.O.P. Among Democrats they can be identified as DLC, Blue Dogs, Dixiecrats, Blue Tics or describe themselves as “centrist” (read Democrat In Name Only). Our President is a prime example of a DINO, catering to Wall Street and the Fossil Fuels crowd.

    Even so, even a broken clock is right 2x per day.

  3. Proof that google is the new microsoft.

    I remember the days when Microsoft lied in front of the supreme court by falsifying evidence.

    Bet googles spin doctors are starting up.

  4. Since Bing just misappropriates Google search results and rebrands them as it’s own, shouldn’t Micro$loth be a part of this investigation as aiding and abetting?

  5. Google is abusing its monopolistic position not only with respect to desktop search but also with respect to mobile search and search derived services.

    The Skyhook case is a good example of how Google abused its monopolistic position in certifying Android compliant hardware manufacturers by compelling them to eliminate a competing technology on the grounds that it was displacing Google’s location services that has implications for advertisement driven revenue streams ranging from retailers to restauranteurs.

    Google is not only evil but is browbeating the smaller guys by strong-arming manufacturers not to install a competing piece of software much like Microsoft did by denying OEMs the right to install Linux on PCs.

  6. google’s free services & apps paid for by ripping off businesses for clicks, is bad for our domestic software development industry. If google keep killing off and copying every new thing that gets developed, investors won’t want to fund the devs who do the initial R&D because they cannot monetize the innovation if google kills it with a copycat.

  7. About time!! Google’s leveraging their dominance in one market (search) to price below development costs service in other markets (e.g., free mobile OS, forcing phone operators to use Google map vs. competitors, etc) is a clear example of anti-trust issue.

  8. Free enterprise folks — if you do not like it, start your own web search firm and do not expect government help. Monopolies will be approve by the current Supreme Court as soon as a case is presented to them that will allow such a ruling. Don’t laugh – it is coming.

  9. I’m not sure that 2/3 of search is a monopoly, and “channeling users” to their other stuff isn’t exactly abusing a monopoly. Not that I like Google – I get by just fine not using any of their junk. I don’t expect much to come of this, but it’ll be interesting to watch.

  10. It’s very dangerous if a dominant monopolist is allow to self-regulate itself. We don’t have to look far back into the past to realize how damaging such policy has wrought to the industry and economy of a country. The 1980s LBO and junk bond empire of Milken and company and the recent toxic products of the investment banks and fund managing houses have proved that self-regulation is a mirage of transparency and good governance.

    If a company has attained monopoly through fair competition and not through unfair practices like giving away free products and muscling its way and disrupt into new territories, then such company has done its own diligence. Google had done this and it deserves to be investigated and be punished to the hilt. Google is rash and cavalier and the chickens are coming home to roost.

    This news and the impending implosion of the Android platform is sending the stock price of Google to go downhill.

    1. The FTC already took care of M$ by suggesting that M$ get into the MP3 player business and design an el cheapo fone for tweens. M$ was also told that Longhorn was too much a monopolistic evolution from XP so M$ made Vista.

        1. Touche. I may be in the twilight of my years but that photo is not me; it’s just something I picked up of someone who appeared to be a grouchy old man with an upset stomach.

          Typing M$ might be childish but it’s a hard habit to break. I’ll try not to in the future. Watch this space!

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