FTC Reportedly Not Very Confident In At Least One Major Element Of Potential Antitrust Case Against Google

    November 21, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

It’s looking less likely that the Federal Trade Commission believes it has a solid enough case to take Google to court on antitrust grounds, at least over the way Google presents results from its own products.

A report from Bloomberg today says Google may “skirt the most serious antitrust allegations under investigation,” as regulators “waver on whether they can prove consumers are hurt by the way the company ranks its search results”. The report cites three people familiar with the situation, and adds FTC officials are “unsure they have enough evidence to sue Google successfully under antitrust laws for giving its own services top billing and pushing down the offerings of rivals.”

Bloomberg’s Sara Forden and Jeff Bliss write:

Regulators are also looking at whether the ranking system’s benefits to consumers outweigh any harm suffered by rivals including NexTag Inc. and Kayak Software Corp. (KYAK), the people said.

Presumably, they’re also considering the fact that it is extraordinarily easy for anybody with a computer, tablet or smartphone (even with Google’s own Chrome browser or Android operating system) to go to NexTag.com or Kayak.com if they want results from those services. I was able to confirm this is possible by typing these URLs into the Chrome browser. Both sites appeared to have loaded and enabled me to conduct searches.

It’s worth noting that Kayak, a member of FairSearch (an organization comprised of Google competitors) which has been pressuring the FTC to take action against Google, is set to be acquired by Priceline, which is curiously not part of the organization. When asked about what the acquisition would mean for Kayak’s role in FairSearch, the organization would not offer comment.

  • Jack N Fran Farrell

    FTC is really clueless that harm to competitors is an expected byproduct of competition and has zero weight unless customers are harmed. Either that or you are printing Microsoft PR under the guise of FTC ‘opinion’.

  • Proxy User7812N

    Jack N Fran Farrell – a very busy bee commenting on all Google stories. Part of your 20% project @ Google?

  • Sassy Solipsist

    hmmm…oh yes, well, all that & more, too…SEO ASStroTurfing Techniques & their various sundries of asordid software…grey, red, and black habberdashering…and piggyback rides on wi-fi and bluejacking and sidejacking…wardriving in it’s various forms, and natch and related, aircracking…ham radio, anyone? fm? am? bit o’ bandwidth sirwave time piracy? commandeering cellphones by so many means…mozilla firesheep is but only one….who needs all those pre-installed apps, by the way? have you read what accesses they can give to anyone with the wherewithal, desire, know-how, time…to eff up your phone, steal and alter/manipulate your info. /phone? shit out of luck with getting the search results you desire? despite attempting to play by the search engine co.’s *suggested key words and symbol usages and wtfever*? got creeps commandeering your results, no matter which search engine you choose? and hey, btw, good fuckin’ luck w/ trying to get anything even close to resembling the actual news…or real directions/maps assistance/gps help…w/out being sent out across the whole damned nation on a kerouac like road trip only not cool nor desired in your case…just an exceedingly frustrating waste of your time, dwindling gas in tank, nerves, patience, and a bloody awful wild goose chase…followed by goons who try to run you off of the road at least thrice. which makes you wonder wtf i’d do shit!? i’m nice!!