Friday, June 24, 2011

Google Under The Knife

govt used to be scared of MSFT's control of browser. Now some r scared of google search dominance. Don't need regulate sw. Innovation winsless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply

Wall Street Journal: Feds to Launch Probe of Google:Federal regulators are poised to hit Google Inc. with subpoenas, launching a broad, formal investigation into whether the Internet giant has abused its dominance in Web-search advertising ..... wouldn't necessarily lead to any federal allegations of wrongdoing against Google ...... the Google probe ultimately could be as much of a watershed event for antitrust policy as the Justice Department's landmark lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. in the 1990s. ...... the legal assault on the company—and its aftermath—helped check Microsoft's ability to exploit its dominance in personal-computer operating systems to control other technology sectors. The long-running case also distracted the company from its operations and tarnished its public images—risks that might also face Google...... it isn't illegal to have a monopoly—only to acquire one unlawfully or abuse it....... whether Google searches unfairly steer users to the company's own growing network of services at the expense of rival providers. ....... a group representing several Google critics, including Microsoft and travel services Expedia Inc.,, and Sabre Holdings....... using other companies' content without their permission, deceptive display of search results, manipulation of search results to favor Google's products, and buying up competitive threats to its dominance....... the company has said it "built Google for users, not websites, and our goal is to give users answers." ...... Google has drawn public complaints from travel sites like Expedia and TripAdvisor, health site and local-business reviews sites and, among others. They claim Google promotes links to its own services—such as local-business information pages—depriving their sites of potential traffic...... Google is quickly expanding its array of services that seek to directly answer users' queries, departing from its original strategy of sending them quickly to the most relevant site. Since 2009, for example, Google has directed people who search for mortgages or credit cards to its own marketplace for such offers....... Google doesn't subject its specialized sites, such as Google Places, the company's local-business information pages, to the same rules that cover their sites, and so Google's own sites often show up atop its search results, regardless of their quality. Google has used Google Places as a launching pad to sell ads to local businesses who want to promote offers to Google Web-search users...... "They should compete on fair terms, but they're not subjecting their own content to the same standards by which they judge ours," said Jay Herratti, chief executive of CityGrid Media, a unit of IAC that operates, and "They always guarantee themselves the top position with products that are largely built on other publishers' content," he said........ Google is abusing its dominance in search ads to extend its control to other markets, from mobile phones to online television, publishing and airline travel...... The probe is expected to take a year or more to unfold, and it won't necessarily lead to any charges...... But the FTC fought hard with the Justice Department to take the case, the people familiar with the matter said, and so is unlikely to walk away without taking any action. ...... In addition to Texas, where a state investigation of Google was disclosed last year, the attorneys general of New York, California and Ohio have started preliminary probes of the company ...... In April, Google agreed to submit to independent privacy audits for the next 20 years as part of a legal settlement with the FTC of claims it violated users' privacy at its social network Buzz...... Google agreed to allow the Justice Department to oversee a slice of its operations in exchange for approval of its $700 million purchase of travel-software provider ITA Software..... In 2008, the Justice Department blocked a Google advertising agreement with Yahoo Inc., saying it would have controlled more than 90% of the relevant market.

New York Times: F.T.C. Is Said Near a Move On Google:The commission’s action was first reported online by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. .... unlike those cases, which affected only small portions of Google’s business, the current investigation focuses on Google’s main business: Internet search and advertising ...... If Google is found to have abused its dominant position in Internet search and advertising, the F.T.C. would not levy fines. But it has the authority to issue cease-and-desist orders for violations of the trade commission act, and it can also file a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction against certain behaviors. ...... Google controlled 65.5 percent of the market in May; Yahoo had 16 percent and Bing had 14 percent. ...... Google’s main search-advertising business accounts for most of the company’s revenue, which totaled $29.3 billion last year. ..... Google in May became the first company to have one billion unique visitors to its site in one month, a rate that was up 8 percent over a year earlier.

CNet: FTC, Senate rachet up Google antitrust probes:Google has shed market share to Microsoft over the past year, according to data released last week by research firm Compete. It's dropped from 73.9 percent to 63.6 percent, while Microsoft's Bing has increased its market share to 17 percent..... Microsoft was not exactly eager to compromise with Washington, D.C., regulators and bureaucrats. Chief Executive Steve Ballmer once said "to heck with Janet Reno" ...... politicians know that a CEO's appearance will draw more press attention, so they tend to ask for it. But when Apple was pressed for details about location privacy by a Senate committee last month, it sent a vice president, not CEO Steve Jobs...... Google has been reluctant to provide either Page or Schmidt for the Senate antitrust subcommittee's hearing, saying other executives would be more appropriate. Utah Sen. Mike Lee, the senior Republican on the panel, said yesterday he was "very disappointed in Google's response." ..... Just over a billion people worldwide visited Google in May, according to data released this week from ComScore. Microsoft was in a close second place with 905 million visitors last month, up 15 percent from a year earlier.

GigaOm: Will an antitrust investigation derail the Google train?: it will put Google right where Microsoft was in the late 1990s — fighting to prove that its behavior as a quasi-monopoly is not anti-competitive. And the big risk for Google isn’t just that it might lose: As the case against Microsoft showed, such investigations can harm a company even if they are ultimately unsuccessful. ....... “search neutrality.” ..... Has Google somehow caused consumers to pay more for something as a result of its behavior? ..... Regardless of the merits of the case, or even the eventual outcome, one of the risks for Google is that having to deal with the government inquiry could slow the company’s progress down or even cripple it. ...... a report earlier this year from the Technology Policy Institute found that such government antitrust investigations rarely accomplish what they set out to do — despite the years of legal effort that were poured into antitrust investigations into Microsoft, IBM and AT&T, the report found that competition came to those markets not as a result of government regulation but because of external factors — including technological changes — that the government could never have predicted.

TechCrunch: The Knives Are Out For Google As FTC Prepares Antitrust Investigation:Most video searches go to YouTube, for example. But is that because Google pushes them there or those are the best results? ...... if a full-blown antitrust investigation does get launched, it may be a signal that Google’s market power has peaked ..... now, just as social (and Facebook) is starting to take over from search as the fundamental way information is shared, discovered, and organized on the Web, the government is focusing on the last decade’s war...... I wouldn’t worry too much about Google’s market power. Technology has a way of overthrowing the powers that be more quickly and naturally than the government ever will.

Search Engine Land: Googleopoly: The Definitive Guide To Antitrust Investigations Against Google: Google’s been examined for antitrust issues many times before this and mostly come through OK. ..... Skyhook Wireless, which has sued Google for unfair business practices. It suggests that Google used its dominance of the “open” Android platform to hinder Skyhook.

ReadWriteWeb: Reports: Google to Face Broad Antitrust Investigation from U.S. Government:Google's business practices will be put under the microscope, especially the core search product ..... a letter was sent by the Democratic and Republican chairs of the Senate antitrust committee requesting that either CEO Larry Page or Chairman Eric Schmidt be made available to the committee
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