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Google to Face Federal Antitrust Probe

By - Source: Wall Street Journal | B 46 comments

Google is facing federal anticompetition probe into the way it is conducting business in the search market.

The FTC has launched a probe into Google and its behavior in the search market. The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported that the Federal Trade Commission was poised to issue subpoenas to the search giant, launching the formal investigation into the company’s dominance in web search advertising.

People familiar with the matter told the newspaper that the investigation would include whether Google searches unfairly steer users to the Google's own network of services at the expense of rival providers. Expedia, TripAdvisor, WebMD.com, Yelp.com and Citysearch.com have all apparently complained about Google’s habit of promoting its own services unfairly.

Though the investigation is focused on Google’s core business, the company could have nothing to worry about. According to the Journal, it’s not illegal to own a monopoly, you just can’t acquire one lawfully or abuse one.

Google confirmed the investigation earlier today. Speaking via the official Google blog, Amit Singhal said Google would cooperate with the FTC's probe.

"At Google, we’ve always focused on putting the user first," Singhal wrote. "We aim to provide relevant answers as quickly as possible—and our product innovation and engineering talent have delivered results that users seem to like, in a world where the competition is only one click away.

"Still, we recognize that our success has led to greater scrutiny. Yesterday, we received formal notification from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it has begun a review of our business. We respect the FTC’s process and will be working with them (as we have with other agencies) over the coming months to answer questions about Google and our services."

Check out the full post here.

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    RogueKitsune , June 25, 2011 6:55 AM
    Google offers a bunch of services in one place so you don't have to go everywhere on the web, and offers(in my opinion)great service to the end user.... Isn't that pretty much what WalMart and other super-retail stores do now a days(well except maybe the customer service part). They don't get called monopolies just because people like getting everything there and ignore the specialty shops(places that only offer one service). So why should Google get in trouble for essentially doing the same thing.
    Beside if i remember correctly it is not illegal for a content provider to promote its own services over a competitors its just illegal to block people access to a competitors service(I could be wrong :\ ).
  • 12 Hide
    kire , June 25, 2011 8:14 AM
    I would just like to quickly point out that when you do a google or a google map search for establishments (i.e. restaurants, apartments, etc) that it pulls up results from yelp, apartments.com, and such.
  • 11 Hide
    Kileak , June 25, 2011 11:15 AM
    And why exactly does Google have to be "neutral" and not promote it's own services? It is a company right? Not a government-run public service.

    Google has all the rights of steering searches towards it's services first in my opinion. Them companies complaining can come up with their own search engine if they really want to be up there too... much like Microsoft's Bing promotes their crap, and Yahoo and all them.

    The crappy wannabes want a piece of the pie too, but since they can't get some, then they'll try to ruin the pie for everyone.
Other Comments
    Display all 46 comments.
  • 19 Hide
    RogueKitsune , June 25, 2011 6:55 AM
    Google offers a bunch of services in one place so you don't have to go everywhere on the web, and offers(in my opinion)great service to the end user.... Isn't that pretty much what WalMart and other super-retail stores do now a days(well except maybe the customer service part). They don't get called monopolies just because people like getting everything there and ignore the specialty shops(places that only offer one service). So why should Google get in trouble for essentially doing the same thing.
    Beside if i remember correctly it is not illegal for a content provider to promote its own services over a competitors its just illegal to block people access to a competitors service(I could be wrong :\ ).
  • 12 Hide
    kire , June 25, 2011 8:14 AM
    I would just like to quickly point out that when you do a google or a google map search for establishments (i.e. restaurants, apartments, etc) that it pulls up results from yelp, apartments.com, and such.
  • -4 Hide
    mactronix , June 25, 2011 9:02 AM

    They have lots of money the same as MS and the government is just making up rulings to fine them and get a big pay out.
    Expect the EU to follow suite

    Mactronix
  • 11 Hide
    the_krasno , June 25, 2011 9:57 AM
    Remember that little town in Florida that disappeared from Google one day and as a result its local business lost thousands of dollars worth of online and phone sales?
    Google is vital now. We need water, we need electricity, we need internet, we need the Google. It's a verb now!!
    Do we "bing" for stuff? Or "yahoo" them? NO! We google!
  • 0 Hide
    rottingsheep , June 25, 2011 10:41 AM
    there was a time when searching for a specific web browser, google lists an ad link to google chrome first.
  • 11 Hide
    Kileak , June 25, 2011 11:15 AM
    And why exactly does Google have to be "neutral" and not promote it's own services? It is a company right? Not a government-run public service.

    Google has all the rights of steering searches towards it's services first in my opinion. Them companies complaining can come up with their own search engine if they really want to be up there too... much like Microsoft's Bing promotes their crap, and Yahoo and all them.

    The crappy wannabes want a piece of the pie too, but since they can't get some, then they'll try to ruin the pie for everyone.
  • 0 Hide
    molo9000 , June 25, 2011 11:47 AM
    roguekitsuneGoogle offers a bunch of services in one place so you don't have to go everywhere on the web, and offers(in my opinion)great service to the end user.... Isn't that pretty much what WalMart and other super-retail stores do now a days(well except maybe the customer service part). They don't get called monopolies just because people like getting everything there and ignore the specialty shops(places that only offer one service). So why should Google get in trouble for essentially doing the same thing.Beside if i remember correctly it is not illegal for a content provider to promote its own services over a competitors its just illegal to block people access to a competitors service(I could be wrong :\ ).


    The difference is that Walmart actually has real competition and therefore can't abuse it's market dominating position.
    Walmart's net profit margin is around 5%. Google's is around 30%.
  • 2 Hide
    digiex , June 25, 2011 12:14 PM
    Google will be like M$, crippled to the balls, then Apple and Facebook will rule the world... beware!
  • 7 Hide
    ironmb , June 25, 2011 1:56 PM
    Google > All other search websites.. It's simple, fast, and hardly any ads.
  • 0 Hide
    a-nano-moose , June 25, 2011 2:15 PM
    the_krasnoDo we "bing" for stuff? Or "yahoo" them? NO! We google!

    I yahoo but only because they took my webcrawler away.
  • -6 Hide
    xerroz , June 25, 2011 3:46 PM
    I hope they get crippled. Google is too big and they keep abusing the massive power they have by doing what they please with your personal info.
    Bing needs to rise
  • 0 Hide
    leafman420 , June 25, 2011 4:48 PM
    um Yea I used "Bing" once. It didn't find anything I was looking for. Yahoo was cool, I still "YaaaaHOOOO!!!" Messenger that is. When I want to search the World Wide Web, I'm sorry there only seems to be one search and that is Google. Expedia, TripAdvisor, WebMD.com, Yelp.com and Citysearch.com
  • 0 Hide
    leafman420 , June 25, 2011 4:51 PM
    --heard of one or two of these, but why would I use something that is clearly not working. (What ever happen to MaBell)

    P.S. Isn't bing an already failed search engine?
  • 1 Hide
    cheepstuff , June 25, 2011 5:15 PM
    Quote:
    According to the Journal, it’s not illegal to own a monopoly, you just can’t acquire one lawfully or abuse one.


    I can't acquire a monopoly lawfully?
    Please proofread a little more thoroughly. I find simple mistakes in articles on this site way too often.
  • 1 Hide
    madjimms , June 25, 2011 5:36 PM
    Google has such a clean front page that it makes all other search engines redundant. Its much different than Microsoft in terms of monopoly, Especially considering theres about 1000 different ones!
  • 6 Hide
    smithereen , June 25, 2011 7:08 PM
    My brain blurred two headlines together to say "Enter to Win Federal Antitrust Probe!"
  • -5 Hide
    master9716 , June 25, 2011 8:17 PM
    ARE THEY SERIOUS? Who ever enitiated this should be taken care of , if you know what i mean. If I owned google id have someone to take care of this anoyances so they dont happen again.
  • 2 Hide
    master9716 , June 25, 2011 8:19 PM
    but then again . if google is taking businness again from others on purpose when people are searching the internet then that should be taken care of because it actually affects our searches and what we find online.
  • 2 Hide
    maxiim , June 25, 2011 8:21 PM
    The competition will always be a little jealous, of the company that dominates them.
  • 0 Hide
    dread_cthulhu , June 25, 2011 8:40 PM
    I don't see how google's doing anything illegal. Plenty of other companies show up on their top lists. Their search is very impartial, and from what I understand, they organize the results based off of the number of users that hit that site... and some other criteria I'm not sure of. But I'm going to continue using Godgle, they work the best! XD
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