Skip to main content

Report: FTC Looking to Bring Antitrust Case Against Google

Reuters reports that four members of the Federal Trade Commission are convinced that Google, the current #1 search engine company, used its market dominance to purposely hurt competitors. The four FTC commissioners came to this conclusion after conducting an investigation into Google's practices for more than a year.

The report arrives by way of three people familiar with the matter who declined to be named to protect their working relationships. Two of the sources told Reuters that a decision on how to proceed against Google could arrive sometime in late November or early December. They also said that a fifth commissioner remains skeptical.

The FTC's investigation ignited from a growing list of rivals specializing in travel, shopping and entertainment – including Yelp and Nextag – that have accused Google of unfairly giving their services a low quality ranking in search results. They claim that because of this forced ranking, Google's own similar services are seen first by potential customers. In order to get noticed, rivals are forced to purchase more ads to improve their visibility.

But last year during a congressional hearing, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel that Google does not manipulate its search results. "We've not cooked anything," he said. And just recently, Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick said that the company is open to any questions about how Google conducts its business.

So if Google is so "transparent," then why does the FTC believe there may be a case? One source told Reuters that other complaints that have piled up against Google "give weight" to the antitrust issue. These additional complaints include accusations that the search engine giant refuses to share data that would allow developers and advertisers to create software for comparing ad spending on Bing or Yahoo against ad spending on Google.

In addition to the current investigation, the FTC is also looking into Google's handling of valuable patents. The government agency is trying to determine if these patents are licensed fairly, and if patent infringement lawsuits filed by Google are actually used to hamper competitor innovation. A decision is expected to be made by the end of the year, and could mean that Google will be forced to spend millions fighting in court, or to strike a deal with the FTC.

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

  • dark_knight33
    the FTC is also looking into Google's handling of valuable patents. The government agency is trying to determine if these patents are licensed fairly, and if patent infringement lawsuits filed by Google are actually used to hamper competitor innovation.

    Uhh... Where's the FTC when it comes to Apple? Apple has been trying to put Android manufacturers out of business for 3 years now. They don't want to license patents, they go for product import bans over stuff like a ridiculous "rounded rectangle" patent. :pfff:

    As a way of showing my appreciation, I just bought 2 new Galaxy S3s from Best buy on Sunday. F*** you Apple.
    Reply
  • southernshark
    Nextag SHOULD receive a low quality ranking. It is a garbage website whose only purpose is to create lawsuits.
    Reply
  • dimar
    How about Google adding a comments section for each website or domain for users to rate and comment on. So if some website is selling garbage, fraud, or malware users will be aware of it.
    Reply
  • keither5150
    Dark knight is right. F u apple. My wife has a Galaxy S2 I am kinda waiting for nokia 920 with W8. Even siri thinks that nokia makes the best phone. I have tried many search engines. I really wanted to like bing (their video preview rocks) Google is still the best.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-0Viki2UDU
    Reply
  • whatisupthere
    And the Lawyers rejoice
    Reply
  • Kami3k
    It's not Google's fault it tends to be the best in what it does.
    Reply
  • alidan
    Kami3kIt's not Google's fault it tends to be the best in what it does.
    ftc "no, you cant advertise your own product over your competitors, that isnt fair to them that when someone uses your search engine, your things show up first"

    i say if they want to be #1 on a search engine, make their own.
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    Why doesnt somebody bring a fucking antitrust case to Apple ?
    Reply
  • flamethrower205
    Is google obligated to provide "fair" search results?
    If they are I can see how this is a problem, but is that the case? I mean we choose to use and trust google's search results; if there is unacceptable bias the consumer could choose not to use the search.
    I don't know anything about law in these matters tho, so I'm curious to hear what someone who knows has to say.
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    yeah...... taking my google map away in ios6, just because Apple say they can. So when is Apple's turn?
    Reply