FTC to go after Google? Reports Say YesWritten by Pace Lattin
October 24, 2012 # 12:38 pm # Industry News, Specials # One Comment
According to sources within the FTC and public reports, Google may soon become a target of the FTC. Obviously Google is always a target for lawsuits, and always involved with something, but with the FTC possibly investigating Google in coming months, we are sure their attorneys are paying more attention than normal. This lawsuit seems to be a bit more important, and more and more people are speculating about it this week,.
It seems that the FTC has been looking into possibly suing Google for misuse of its well-known dominance of it’s search. According to reports, a memo has been circulating at the FTC headquarters questioning if the FTC should be involved with suing Google based on two things.
First, the FTC is considering that Google dominance in search has prevented competitors from entering the market, and that companies like Yelp have seen serious damage from what is seen to be anti-competitive behavior. The second reason for a possible lawsuit is more complex: Google has been using patents to try to block competitors smart phones from entering the marketplace, creating what is often called a “dirty pool.”
This is based on a 19-month-long investigation that looked at where Google made it impossible for anyone trying to compete with their search and review productions to enter the marketplace. Already Google has sat down with FTC investigators and attorneys to talk about preventing this lawsuit, but that these talks seem to have not helped at all.
Some people not only think that the FTC should sue Google, but that as a company it needs to be regulated. IN fact, Dr. Robert Epstein recently wrote on HuffPost that he thinks the company has shown a pattern of abuse and that it needs to be regulated, and lays down an entire bunch of reasons. He says:
But as good as the company is at providing information, it should not and must not be allowed to conduct business as usual. It must and will eventually be regulated, just as the phone companies and credit bureaus are regulated. Fundamental civil liberties issues are at stake.
Whatever may happen, Google does not want to be the target of any FTC lawsuit. It completely undermines their “Do No Evil” claim, and more importantly, will put in question many of their patents and general business strategy. For years people have claimed Google is anti-competitive, and they have claimed the opposite. A government lawsuit will bring to light many of these issues, and worse, make it harder for them to defend themselves against possible civil claims by those supposedly affected by these actions. This is something we all need to pay attention to in the coming months, because it could change the face of the industry.