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FTC To Open Antitrust Investigation Against Google 131

Posted by timothy
from the still-waiting-on-the-congressional-search-engine dept.
itwbennett writes "According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing to serve subpoenas to Google as a first step in a broad antitrust investigation focusing on whether Google search is unfairly driving traffic to its other sites. Representatives of Google and the FTC declined to comment on the report, although an FTC spokesperson did deny that the report came from them."
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FTC To Open Antitrust Investigation Against Google

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  • Stupidity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog (537054) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @05:46PM (#36547526)

    So can we next have a suit against NBC for unfairly putting commercials for their shows ahead of other networks? I realize that Google has become ubiquitous but there are other search engines. I don't see how it is unreasonable for Google to promote their own brand on their page.

  • Re:Stupidity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @05:57PM (#36547668)

    I don't see how it is unreasonable for Google to promote their own brand on their page.

    And Microsoft probably didn't see why it was unreasonable to promote their own browser on their operating system. Antitrust legislation is about more than promotion: it prevents you from your dominance in one market to muscle competitors out of a different market. Whether or not Google is actually running afoul of antitrust laws, I don't know, but it's definitely a possibility: you don't think it's possible that so many people are using Google Docs instead of other cloud document editing services because it's right on Google's homepage?

  • by callit (1900158) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @05:58PM (#36547682)
    yep. keep rubberstamping deals like nbc-comcast and the soon to be att-t-mobile. Ignore the consistent anti-consumer policies of most ISPs and cable operators... and waste time on a company supporting its own business model in a way that barely affects consumers, but may impact other companies? Why is the government so anti-consumer and pro-corporation right now? Just how much money does it take to buy a senator anyway?
  • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:31PM (#36548132)

    Er, google has never manipulated their search ranking to favor themselves or someone in particular. If, so they would be under serious trouble!

    LOL! Of course they have!
    Search for any noun and you get a Wikipedia page in the top 10, guaranteed, despite it likely not being what anyone fucking wants.
    Search for "email" and you get gmail as the first result every fucking time, despite both hotmail and yahoo mail having FAR more active users than gmail.
    Search for any video, and you'll get endless broken links to google video. Well, you used to, but now these are being replaced with broken links to youtube.com where the video is removed or it's a shitty "reaction" video. I want my porn and shock videos and Google buries the results. Use Bing for any video content - they don't have a video site that loses millions of dollars per day they need to pimp out. (And if you don't believe me, just search for some porn on Bing. Wash your hands, then thank me.)

  • Re:Stupidity (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday June 23, 2011 @06:46PM (#36548330) Homepage Journal

    People forget the MS would change the underlying layer to give there browser an advantage. THAT was the real problem.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @08:38PM (#36549570)

    If you're a monopoly, you can't leverage that monopoly to push your other products anti-competitively.

    What does Google have a monopoly on? Ad space? Facebook, Microsoft and Apple all would like to disagree. Search engine? The cost to switch to a different search engine is exactly zero.
    Merely claiming that Google is a monopoly means absolutely nothing. You're going to have to demonstrate why Google is a monopoly first. No one has done that without resorting to brand-new definitions of the word monopoly and market.

    One example would be Google's hard-coded results for specific search terms that place its services at the top of the page regardless of their actual popularity (e.g., Google Finance appearing over the more popular Yahoo Finance, complete with a unique visual presentation).

    No, it isn't. Google specifically marks out the area above its search results as the sponsored area. There is absolutely no way to confuse the chart that appears as the result of a search for a stock ticker symbol as part of the general page. Not to mention that right underneath the Google Finance chart are links to other chart services. In the search results themselves, Yahoo Finance does come out on top. Are you going to complain as well that on the page where Google search results are displayed, there are links to log in to your Google account, access Google Docs and what not? You probably are. In which case, please explain why any other company is allowed to display links to its properties on a page it owns. Start with Microsoft and Apple.

    I have to say, it's interesting how some people's attitudes change when the company involved isn't Microsoft.

    No, it really isn't. Not unless you build a few strawmen.

    Google is a gigantic advertising company that happens to hand out free services to get your personal data indexed for their network.

    True.

    They exploit the positive connotation of "open source" and other causes in order to appeal to a certain type of techie, but their motives are just as impure as Microsoft's (and their search engine is as closed source and proprietary as Windows).

    No. They appeal to the techie crowd because their products are pretty friggin awesome.

    I'm not really sure why they're afforded the benefit of the doubt by so many fans.

    Because they have consistently met high expectations. Other companies have not.

    For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure this "Google is an evil monopoly campaign" has been started by various companies who got bloodied by it. You're either shilling for them, or swallowed their crap hook, line and sinker.

  • by macshit (157376) <miles.gnu@org> on Friday June 24, 2011 @12:36AM (#36551428) Homepage

    Er, sure, but be much, much, more leery of Google's enemies -- you know, the ones that are lobbying for investigations like this.

    Because the alternative to Google isn't (in the short term) some scrappy and lovable FOSS underdogs, it's vast evil entities like Microsoft and Facebook.

    Addendum: Be very scared.

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