Now that the Federal Trade Commission has formally announced the conclusion of its investigation into Google’s business practices, commentary from “experts,” analysts, and various groups are coming out of the woodwork.
We knew we’d be hearing from one group in particular. The FairSearch Coalition has released its statement regarding today’s news, to inform the world that it is disappointed with the FTC’s decision to close its investigation, a decision the group calls “premature”.
“The FTC’s decision to close its investigation with only voluntary commitments from Google is disappointing and premature, coming just weeks before the company is expected to make a formal and detailed proposal to resolve the four abuses of dominance identified by the European Commission, first among them biased display of its own properties in search results,” says the group made up of Google competitors (which includes a number of travel sites, as well as Microsoft and Oracle).
“The FTC’s settlement is by no means the last word in this case, leaving the FTC without a major role in the final resolution to the investigations of Google’s anti-competitive practices by state attorneys general and the European Commission,” FairSearch says. “The FTC’s inaction on the core question of search bias will only embolden Google to act more aggressively to misuse its monopoly power to harm other innovators.”
“State attorneys general who reportedly disagreed with today’s announcement by the FTC have an important role to play in ensuring both that Google is not allowed to continue practices that hurt every American business through artificially high advertising costs, and to demand that whatever changes Google is forced to make in Europe also apply for U.S. consumers who risk losing innovation because of Google’s aggressive abuse of its dominance,” the group continues.
“FairSearch and its members will continue work with authorities in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere who are investigating Google,” FairSearch concludes. “Our members also plan to participate in the European Commission’s market testing of any proposed binding remedies to Google’s harms. FairSearch will continue to fight to restore truly competitive conditions to the market for search and related online services. No less than the future of innovation and small business on the Internet is at stake.”
Google agreed to make changes to its practices, including allowing sites to opt out of inclusion in its vertical search services without penalty in organic search results, and allowing advertisers to mix and copy campaign data within third-party services that use the AdWords API.
The FTC has determined that Google has not violated American antitrust law.