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FTC May Recommend Antitrust Suit Against Google

By - Source: Bloomberg | B 36 comments

Google is reportedly facing antitrust allegations over restricted access to smartphone patents the company owns.

According to an article published by Bloomberg, a "majority" of the FTC's five commissioners may recommend a lawsuit against Google sometime after the presidential election on November 6. Apparently, there are mounting concerns that Google is using patents it acquired with the purchase of Motorola to block the import of products made by Apple and Microsoft.

While the FTC declined to comment on the report, Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick stated that Google takes its "commitments to license on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms very seriously" and would be willing to answer "any questions". It appears that the U.S. government may be cracking on an industry that is currently focused on using lawsuits as a critical measure to compete in the U.S. market place. Bloomberg noted that the Department of Justice will be investigating Samsung's claims of industry-standard patent claims, while the FTC zeroes in on Google's Motorola Mobility unit.

Google is currently estimated to hold about 75 percent of the smartphone platform market.

 

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    Camikazi , November 2, 2012 11:24 PM
    Wait hasn't Apple been trying to ban Samsung and HTC products pretty much world-wide with lawsuits already? Why check on Google when Apple was doing it first?
  • 21 Hide
    Kami3k , November 2, 2012 11:41 PM
    Looks like who ever is trying to do this in the FTC needs to be fired for being paid off by Apple.

    Why else would the FTC go after a company for merging with another company when it was approved BY THE SAME GOVERNMENT! And go after Google and not Apple when it actively crushes competition through legal means.
  • 18 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 2, 2012 11:37 PM
    So Google faces antitrust allegations because it "blocks the import of products made by Apple and Microsoft."

    Google commands 75% of the market on a product it gives away for free and until recently was on Apple's own hardware. Google only filed suit againt Apple because apparently that's the only way they'll talk to any other company.

    Apple on the other hand constantly tries to block products and filed a 2 billion suit against Samsung. On top of that they remove any competition from the Istore. Why aren't they doing anything about that?

    PS I would make fun of MS but they don't try to block products like Apple, they're market share is tiny, and they're open to everyone (they're not as draconian as Apple).
Other Comments
  • 15 Hide
    jhansonxi , November 2, 2012 11:13 PM
    Blocking the imports of competitors is bad for consumers, unlike patent trolling against OEMs.

    /sarcasm
  • 4 Hide
    ironmb , November 2, 2012 11:20 PM
    It's tough being on top, everyone wants a cut.
  • 21 Hide
    Camikazi , November 2, 2012 11:24 PM
    Wait hasn't Apple been trying to ban Samsung and HTC products pretty much world-wide with lawsuits already? Why check on Google when Apple was doing it first?
  • 10 Hide
    A Bad Day , November 2, 2012 11:30 PM
    FTC, if you really think Google is the only one playing the patent game...

    You need to stop living underneath a rock. The entire tech business is a patent warzone.
  • 18 Hide
    ddpruitt , November 2, 2012 11:37 PM
    So Google faces antitrust allegations because it "blocks the import of products made by Apple and Microsoft."

    Google commands 75% of the market on a product it gives away for free and until recently was on Apple's own hardware. Google only filed suit againt Apple because apparently that's the only way they'll talk to any other company.

    Apple on the other hand constantly tries to block products and filed a 2 billion suit against Samsung. On top of that they remove any competition from the Istore. Why aren't they doing anything about that?

    PS I would make fun of MS but they don't try to block products like Apple, they're market share is tiny, and they're open to everyone (they're not as draconian as Apple).
  • 21 Hide
    Kami3k , November 2, 2012 11:41 PM
    Looks like who ever is trying to do this in the FTC needs to be fired for being paid off by Apple.

    Why else would the FTC go after a company for merging with another company when it was approved BY THE SAME GOVERNMENT! And go after Google and not Apple when it actively crushes competition through legal means.
  • -4 Hide
    abbadon_34 , November 3, 2012 12:00 AM
    you know Al Gore is on the Board of Director's of Apple...political coincidence?
  • 4 Hide
    jojesa , November 3, 2012 12:12 AM
    Google did not ki$$ FTC a$$ with caSh...like Apple.
  • 8 Hide
    idono , November 3, 2012 12:14 AM
    Are they fucking kiding!?!?!
    Is the FTC populated by idiots? How can they have missed the fact that Apple has been doing that openly for years now!
  • 3 Hide
    Pinhedd , November 3, 2012 12:29 AM
    CamikaziWait hasn't Apple been trying to ban Samsung and HTC products pretty much world-wide with lawsuits already? Why check on Google when Apple was doing it first?


    The patents that Apple is leveraging are utility and design patents. They cover simple features that aren't required for the device to operate according to industry standards. They may be bullshit and of skeptical validity, but they're not standard-essential. The patents that Google and Samsung are using against Apple include so called standard-essential patents which are subject to significantly more oversight.
  • 0 Hide
    sykozis , November 3, 2012 1:06 AM
    otacon72So when Apple does it it's the evil empire but when Google does it it's ok...lmao Love the Android fanboys.

    Read Pinhedd's post....he explained what's going on....
  • -1 Hide
    Kami3k , November 3, 2012 1:44 AM
    Quote:
    you know Al Gore is on the Board of Director's of Apple...political coincidence?



    And? Is he in charge of the FTC?

    No.

    Try again drone.
  • 6 Hide
    JamesSneed , November 3, 2012 2:23 AM
    Quote:
    The patents that Apple is leveraging are utility and design patents. They cover simple features that aren't required for the device to operate according to industry standards. They may be bullshit and of skeptical validity, but they're not standard-essential. The patents that Google and Samsung are using against Apple include so called standard-essential patents which are subject to significantly more oversight.


    Yes but I think the level of scrutiny is also impacted by how much money the other party has that doesn't want to pay what Google is asking. Google asked for 2.25% of the selling price of devices, which is standard, what Motorola was asking prior, what Microsoft was paying albeit Microsoft cross licensed patents with Motorola so they didn't actually pay that 2.25% out of pocket. Apple wants to pay $1 per device, non retroactive which is a joke. Most companies Apples size trade patents with competitors to keep the competition going and costs down. Apple doesn't want to trade patents with Google or pretty much anyone else. Apple will shortly find out the entry fee into this game with companies that actually have standard essential patents on just about anything Apple wants to make is going to be high if they wont play nicely.
  • -7 Hide
    reprotected , November 3, 2012 3:05 AM
    CamikaziWait hasn't Apple been trying to ban Samsung and HTC products pretty much world-wide with lawsuits already? Why check on Google when Apple was doing it first?

    You get so much negative news about Apple, but barely anything from Google, so you'd obvious would hate Apple much more. You'd think Apple is the most anti-competitive company thanks to the stuff you read, but you really miss out on the bigger details and how real competition happens. You can have a million lawsuit news about a company in which it equates to no more than $2 billion in damages, compared to $20 billion. Google owns a search engine which has more than 7 times the current iOS users. Microsoft had this issue since they basically had a monopoly a decade ago, today Apple is anti-competitive, but not close to having monopoly in any field of technology, and Google basically owns the Internet and has a more potent competitive advantage. The government doesn't care about smaller companies, but they don't want monopolies. Simple as that.
  • -7 Hide
    ericburnby , November 3, 2012 3:07 AM
    Let's see, so many idiotic comments to choose from, where does one begin? Well, since they're all the same it doesn't really matter. You brainiacs should learn the difference between standard essential patents and non-essential patents.

    Lets say Good Year invents a new method to make tires. They pitch it to other companies by making the patent part of a standard. Companies license Good Years' patent and pay $1 per tire for every tire they make. After a few years every company in the world switches their assembly lines over to make tires according to the Good Year patent.

    Now that Good Year has everyone "depending" on their patent they cancel everyone's license and demand $15 per tire. Does anyone think its fair for a company to agree to terms and when they've got everyone dependent on them they hold companies "hostage" for more money?

    This is exactly what Samsung and Motoroka are doing. Donate some patents to a SSO, agree to license them on FRAND terms, then go back on their word.

    BTW, Apple and MS (for example) have a lot of FRAND patents they license to many companies. Can anyone come up with a single case where Apple abused their FRAND patents? Or MS?
  • 12 Hide
    Solandri , November 3, 2012 3:43 AM
    PinheddThe patents that Apple is leveraging are utility and design patents. They cover simple features that aren't required for the device to operate according to industry standards. They may be bullshit and of skeptical validity, but they're not standard-essential. The patents that Google and Samsung are using against Apple include so called standard-essential patents which are subject to significantly more oversight.

    Agreed. Except in Google/Motorola's case, Apple has refused to license the patents. They've just been selling their products without licensing. Their latest "offer" was $1 per device (a ridiculously low 0.2%) with no penalty for hundreds of millions of past devices for which they've illegally never paid a dime. What else is a patent-holder supposed to do when the other party won't play ball like this except seek a ban?

    Yes some other companies are licensing for probably around $1 per device. But that's in exchange for cross-licensing other patents. Apple refuses to cross-license.
  • 1 Hide
    shqtth , November 3, 2012 3:47 AM
    WTF. but apple is trying to block android, and microsoft is getting massive amount of royalties. I don't see any harm in google trying to defend itself.


    Seem like Apple i pulling strings at the FTC.
  • 0 Hide
    dark_knight33 , November 3, 2012 4:14 AM
    Quote:
    So when Apple does it it's the evil empire but when Google does it it's ok FAIR...lmao Love the Android fanboys.


    Fixed.
  • 1 Hide
    fat_panda , November 3, 2012 12:35 PM
    This world needs to establish an industry wide patent system, or international standard in patenting. All of this non-sense is fixable by doing that.
  • 0 Hide
    tacobravo , November 3, 2012 12:52 PM
    Apple should have got sued a lot earlier than what the FCC wants to do with Google. Apple for years have been trying to ban the competitors products in as many countries as they can. They need to be sued for billions since all their frivolous costs the taxpayers of every country untold millions of dollars, dollars in which could be used to better communities and stuff
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