House Democrat warns FTC against suing Google

“Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) is warning the Federal Trade Commission that a lawsuit against Google would be disastrous and could prompt Congress to limit the agency’s authority,” Brendan Sasso reports for The Hill.

“‘I believe that application of anti-trust against Google would be a woefully misguided step that would threaten the very integrity of our anti-trust system, and could ultimately lead to Congressional action resulting in a reduction in the ability of the FTC to enforce critical anti-trust protections in industries where markets are being distorted by monopolies or oligopolies,’ Polis wrote in a letter sent last week to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz and obtained by The Hill on Monday,” Sasso reports. “Polis argued that the market for online search is already fiercely competitive. He noted that customers search Amazon for shopping results, iTunes for music and movies, Facebook for social networking and Yelp for local businesses.”

Sasso reports, “The FTC is nearing the end of a sweeping antitrust investigation into Google’s business practices. People familiar with the case say the commissioners are leaning toward taking action against the company. The agency is investigating whether Google manipulates its search results to ensure that its own services, such as YouTube, Google Maps and Google Plus, appear above those of its rivals.”

MacDailyNews Note: Teh FTC is also investigating Google for FRAND abuse or using standards-essential patents to sue Apple as retribution for Apple’s design patent infringement lawsuits against Android.

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jax44” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Google U.S. antitrust lawsuit said to be urged by FTC investigators over Internet search, FRAND abuse – October 15, 2012
U.S. FTC investigating Google, Motorola Mobility over FRAND abuse – June 30, 2012
EU launches full-blown investigation of Samsung’s suspected abuse of FRAND-pledged patents; Motorola on notice – January 31, 2012
Apple asked standards body to set rules for essential FRAND patents – February 8, 2012

37 Comments

  1. Typical Congressman supporting a constituent in his own district without knowing the true merits of the FTC’s investigation. Just protect the people that support your campaign, and not the American people as a whole!

      1. At the very least campaign contributions — legal ones from dozens of top Google execs that collectively might total 5 or 6 figures.

        As they say, politics makes strange bedfellows.

            1. … stereotypical Republican, and you call this Democrat a “libtard”? Are you saying the Republicans are also “libtards”? Or are you trying to push a hot-button without understanding what it (supposedly) means? Or … you’re a dumb-@$$ troll messing up he site. My guess is #3, maybe #2.

  2. The goal is competition in the market place. The more competition the better. Being all careful about Google is ridiculous. The Internet requires competition in order to succeed, as with any business.

    Coddling any corporation by the government is entirely ridiculous. Playing puppet to any corporation is equally ridiculous. Sadly, ridiculous is the current status quo in government and business relations.

    1. Thanks for a balanced view. It is only an “investigation” — it may find something or find nothing.

      What I do not like is the suggestion that the FTC might have their hands slapped for this; sounds like a bully talking. Not good. I wish he just made his point and left it at that without lumping in a little threat with it. It is ridiculous… not cool.

      This is the kind of thing that led to failed economies in third world countries where corrupting influences run rife. I am glad Americans are speaking up against this kind of talk.

      1. Bully talking indeed. It’s unprofessional and attempts to force the FTC to be unprofessional as well.

        My general impression from my experience and the consistent reports is that there are a lot of very ignorant, lost and insincere people in the corporate elite these days. There behavior is consistently self-destructive of themselves and the businesses they head. That has to stop. If the FTC can contribute to restoring competition in the market place, that’s great.

        On the other hand, even-handed judgement is required as well. I haven’t watched much of Google beating on the competition. They have the best search engine because of brilliant and unique work. On the other hand, Google blatantly ripped off Apple to fake competition via their Android OS. They have also faked calling Android as ‘open source’ while entirely treating it as proprietary.

        IOW: It’s a mixed bag. I just wish politics would stay out of it at let justice be done. As we all should know at this point in time, politics is NOT about justice. It’s about game playing.

  3. When a congressman–any congressman–threatens the operations of the FTC, I certainly sit up and wonder what’s going on. He doesn’t know, nor could he have yet read, any of the particulars involved. But here he is telling the FTC that if it makes a move against Google, the FTC will be sliced and diced by congress.

    This congressman should be investigated. And his relationship with Google should be explored as well. (That he isn’t on a contribution list doesn’t surprise me. Threats against government agencies ostensibly doing their jobs don’t come cheap.)

    I say let the FTC’s charges be heard if the agency decides to pursue it’s case. Because IF Google is using it’s search engine to guide people to its partners, that is anti-trust. And if the FTC decides not to pursue its case (or it files a weak case), the result will not hurt Google.

    But investigate Jared Polis. Something’s fishy in Colorado.

  4. Does Rep. Polis feel the same about the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple and certain book publishers for allegedly violating antitrust law by use of the agency model to sell e-books online? For online books sales, at least since Apple introduced the agency model to online book sales, has been a dynamic and highly competitive market place. So, a fortiori, it follows that the Dept. of Justice antitrust lawsuit against Apple and certain book publishers for use of the agency model to sell e-books is also an improvident restraint on a highly competitive market.

  5. Maybe the problem here is that the government is buying all of the data that Google harvests from the people that use there apps and phones and they don’t want that be known

  6. ““Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) is warning the Federal Trade Commission that a lawsuit against Google would be disastrous and could prompt Congress to limit the agency’s authority,” Brendan Sasso reports for The Hill.

    There are 240 Republican and 190 Democratic Representative in the House of at this present time. The Republicans hold the majority. It is not possible for a Democrat to threaten to have Congress limit the authority of a Federal Regularity. The House would never let such legislation get to the floor of the house without a Republican majority to pass it. And if that were to happen the Senate is controlled by Democrats who would never allow such ligislation to reach the floor of the Seante. One member of Congress does NOT have the authority of controlling the authority of any regulatory agency.

  7. Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but your (American) system of government has the democratically elected representatives in Congress (and Senate) making laws. FTC is staffed by people who are NOT democratically elected (they are hired / appointed essentially for life).

    So, if the system of government in your (American) republic is correct, when a democratically elected representative of people questions the works of an office made up of people who technically do NOT answer directly to any electorate, it would imply that the will of the people is questioning the will of the government apparatus.

    Am I getting something wrong here? Hopefully, a knowledgeable American could confirm / explain…

    1. The legislative branch of government has no business telling law enforcement what to investigate or not, unless there is some suspicion of something illegal going on.

      That is why these are different, independant branches of government.

      1. There are checks and balances in place for a reason, and the legislature not only has the business to look into what the FTC is doing, they have the duty to do so.

        That said I am no fan of Googke and I hope that the legislature does not prop up this abusive and dangerous monopoly.

  8. “The agency is investigating whether Google manipulates its search results to ensure that its own services, such as YouTube, Google Maps and Google Plus, appear above those of its rivals.”

    I’m not sure I see the problem with this to be fair. Of course Google’s results are going to point to their stuff over a competitors. The point here is you can also go to Yahoo or Bing (or others); you do have a choice as a consumer. It’s not like the Microsoft web browser war or Comcast trying to block Netflix, because in those situations the consumer was limited in choice. Not that Google isn’t doing bad things, but that isn’t really one of them in my opinion.

    1. They have a monopoly on search and they by law have to abide by anti trust legislation. Pointing to their stuff first is very likely a violation of anti trust laws.

      They are not free to do as they please, that is the price you pay when you become a market monopoly.

  9. Polis makes me ashamed to be from Colorado. He has a degree from Princeton University, is gay, and is a business man, all reasons why I wouldn’t vote for the crooked S.O.B.
    It would be interesting to see how much Google stock he owns.

  10. Your political party is stupid.

    By extension you are also stupid.

    All evil ever can be traced to your political party and its views on and it should be outlawed. Only lame people vote your way.

    There , that should help the discussion along just fine.

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