“For almost two years, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has been investigating allegations that Google Inc. unfairly dominates the Internet search market. The consumer agency ended the case today without bringing charges over the main issue — whether Google favors its own products in search results and, consequently, stifles competition,” Bloomberg News editorial board writes.
“The FTC missed an opportunity to explore publicly one of the paramount questions of our day: Is Google abusing its role as gatekeeper to the digital economy?” Bloomberg writes. “Lawmakers, economists, other regulators and consumers should all be in on this important debate over whether Google is leveraging its overwhelming dominance of search into unassailable market power in other areas.”
Bloomberg writes, “There is some evidence it is. When a consumer looks for flights on Google, the search engine first provides a short list of airfares offered by Google’s advertisers. Next comes a “Google flight search” box listing the major carriers and their prices. Only after that do online travel services, including Expedia, Kayak and TripAdvisor, appear. They often provide less expensive fares, yet require more time filtering through numerous options.”
Bloomberg writes, “Ask yourself this simple question: Am I harmed when rival services, whether for product comparisons, hotel bookings, airfares, restaurant reviews or maps, go out of business because they can’t compete with Google? We suspect the answer is yes.”
Read more in the full article here.