dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
Google Dodges FTC Bullet in Antitrust Investigation
Did Not Act Anti-Competitively in Search, Only in Mobile Patents
by Karl Bode 06:37PM Thursday Jan 03 2013 Tipped by skeechan See Profile
The FTC today announced that they've closed a two-year investigation into Google for anti-trust violations, resulting in only minor changes to the search giant's business practices. The agency found that Google's search engine has succeeded because it's simply good, not because Google acted anti-competitively. Google simply has to make a few minor tweaks to their business practices, like allowing grumpy newspapers to opt out of Google News because they (rather ridiculously) believe Google is appropriating their content.

Click for full size
"The evidence the FTC uncovered through this intensive investigation prompted us to require significant changes in Google’s business practices. However, regarding the specific allegations that the company biased its search results to hurt competition, the evidence collected to date did not justify legal action by the Commission," said Beth Wilkinson, FTC outside counsel.

The FTC did however note that Google has behaved poorly in another fashion.

While Google traditionally has only used patents defensively, after they acquired Motorola's mobile device patents they continued that company's practice of suing to block competing products if companies don't pay the rates they're looking for. That was an obnoxious shift given Google's previous promises about not being evil, and executive statements that Google believed the patent wars were a sort of tax on innovation.

...the evidence collected to date did not justify legal action by the Commission.
Google's agreement (pdf) with the FTC simply requires that Google head to arbitration before seeking injunction to determine a "fair and reasonable" royalty rates. All in all this is all a fairly huge win for Google, who by and large gets to continue business as usual with only a few small tweaks. The FTC, meanwhile, gets to claim a "win" while pretending they're a tough regulator on the beat.

While the Google of today hasn't been found to be anti-competitive (at least in search), it has always been the Google of tomorrow that raises the most questions. It's a matter of when, not if, Google shifts from innovation and disruption to turf protection and anti-competitive fisticuffs. With the company's hands in so many sectors (wireless handsets, search, ads, Google Fiber) the potential for anti-competitive abuse is absolutely monstrous over the next ten years, and if Google's recent failure to walk the talk on patents is any indication, this isn't the last dance the company will be having with the FTC.

As a depressing and/or amusing side note, Gizmodo is running an article on the settlement by Scott Cleland, who argues that the FTC "screwed" consumers by not imposing the same kind of penalties they did on Microsoft in the 90's, despite there being no real evidence of wrong doing in search. Gizmodo fails to note Cleland is a sockpuppet paid by phone companies and Microsoft, but tells us they're going to add a disclaimer to their piece. You may recall past Cleland greatest hits like pretending Google doesn't pay for bandwidth or insisting that nobody really wants Google fiber.

view:
topics flat nest 

PacNWE97

@qwest.net

Lobbying pays off

Google Spent $14.3 Million on U.S. Lobbying in 2012

Google's Political Action Committee
»www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.···cle=2012

Whether you feel it's biased or just part of doing business, it seems their money was well spent.

Now they just have to figure out how to write down their Motorola Mobility acquisition.

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2

Don't understand the newspaper's take

Google news simply gives a snippet (if that, sometimes it is merely a headline) but then the link drives traffic to the newspaper, I assume for free. Why would the newspapers bitch about a free traffic driver like Google news?

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Don't understand the newspaper's take

Exactly I wouldn't know most of these papers/websites existed if not for Google they should be grateful.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
Old school, don't understand the new media, are dying and will be dead soon.

NotTheMama
What Would Earl Do?

join:2012-12-06

"Opt out"...

robots.txt wasn't good enough?
WhatNow
Premium
join:2009-05-06
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Everybody does it

Microsoft was one of the parties yelling the loudest but they were doing the same thing with their search. Google does well because Google does a great job. They may be starting to goof up by personalizing their search. Two people can search exactly the same and get a different list of results. I am noticing I don't like results I get now as much as I did in the past.

cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

Re: Everybody does it

said by WhatNow:

Microsoft was one of the parties yelling the loudest but they were doing the same thing with their search. Google does well because Google does a great job. They may be starting to goof up by personalizing their search. Two people can search exactly the same and get a different list of results. I am noticing I don't like results I get now as much as I did in the past.

Hey!

You're beginning to catch on!! Google IS NOT the greatest thing since the invention of the wheel. Never has been, never will be!!
--
The Firefox alternative.
»www.mozilla.org/projects/seamonkey/

trparky
Apple... YUM
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:2

Acted anti-competitively? In mobile?

Acted anti-competitively? In mobile?

Who the hell paid off the FTC to rule on that case? Apple? Because if there is any company in existence that is acting anti-competitively in the mobile space it's APPLE!!!!

Is Google suing companies over icons on a screen? Is Google suing over rounded corners? Is Google suing everything that moves?

NO!!!! However, APPLE IS!!!! If anything, Apple should be investigated and brought up on anti-trust violations!
--
Tom
Boycott AT&T uVerse! | Tom's Android Blog | AOKP (The Android Open Kang Project)

Simba7
I Void Warranties

join:2003-03-24
Billings, MT

Re: Acted anti-competitively? In mobile?

You want to know why? It's because Apple has everyone in their pocket. The "iPod, iPad, and iPhone" are gifts from the mighty god, Jobs.

Apple knows this. Most companies use their products in several sectors. Apple knows that if people suddenly retaliated against them, they'd stop all of their devices from working.. which they can.

Why? It's because they have all the Apple iSheep by the balls. They must obey Apple at all costs to keep their iDevice working, or have to open up their minds to something better and have to wean themselves off of the Apple teat.
--
Bresnan 30M/5M | CenturyLink 5M/896K
MyWS[PnmIIX3@3.2G,8G RAM,500G+1.5T+2T HDDs,Win7]
WifeWS[A64@2G,2G RAM,120G HDD,Win7]
Router[2xP3@1G,2G RAM,18G HDD,Allied Telesyn AT2560FX,2xDigital DE504,Sun X1034A,2xSun X4444A,SMC 8432BTA,Gentoo]

trparky
Apple... YUM
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:2

Re: Acted anti-competitively? In mobile?

I say go ahead! About time people learn the tough reality that which is Apple.

trparky
Apple... YUM
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:2

Re: Acted anti-competitively? In mobile?

People see Apple as this great company that innovates. Well, I have news for these people. Apple doesn't innovate nor is it a great company.

They are nothing but a company that steals from other companies, files patents, and then sues everything that moves. Oh, and a company that doesn't at all want you to own the product you paid money for.

When you buy an Apple product, you don't own it, Apple only lets you use the product. It's not yours, you only rent it.
--
Tom
Boycott AT&T uVerse! | Tom's Android Blog | AOKP (The Android Open Kang Project)

Squirrelly

join:2000-10-24
Harrisburg, PA

Re: Acted anti-competitively? In mobile?

Google will be broken up way before Apple

David
I start new work on
Premium,VIP
join:2002-05-30
Granite City, IL
kudos:101

Assuming cleland is partially correct

I wouldn't mind knowing the answers to the section 5 violations.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Google has been hit from all sides

... it's only logical and expected that they will move from defense to offense.

Only patent reform can stop a lot of this BS.

PacNWE97

@qwest.net

How Google beat the feds

How Google beat the feds
»www.politico.com/story/2013/01/h···ml?hp=t1

"Instead of ignoring Washington — as rival Microsoft did before its costly monopolization trial in the 1990s — Google spent about $25 million in lobbying, cozied up to the Obama administration and hired influential Republicans and former regulators. It even consulted with the late Robert Bork and The Heritage Foundation, while meeting with senators like John Kerry to make its case. In other words, these traditional outsiders worked the system from the inside."

pete

@63.141.201.x

Breaking News!!!

BREAKING NEWS!!! utorrent trying to acquire Tixati for millions. OMG
hoyleysox
Premium
join:2003-11-07
Long Beach, CA

Patents are anti-competitive

No $h!t FTC. The intent of patent law is anti-competitive.