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Google Faces Antitrust Probes Around the Globe

Google Faces Antitrust Probes Around the Globe

The Federal Trade Commission is launching an antitrust probe into Google. The FTC has been investigating Google since last year, as Google first acknowledged in June 2011. At issue is whether Google is using its dominant search engine to promote its other products as well as Google’s Android operating system, all while it claims to offer a neutral result that offers users the best options.

Last week, the FTC hired Beth Wilkinson, a formal federal prosecutor who convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and who is now a partner with the firm of Paul, Weiss in Washington. Her hiring is “a signal by the trade commission that it meant business,” says the New York Times. So far, federal regulators have taken depositions and issued subpoenas involving Google and its competitors.

Google has been under investigation by the European Commission for the past two years about whether it has abused local competition laws. The EC is reportedly on the verge of filing formal charges, or of reaching a settlement.

As Talking Points Memo notes, Google faces a number of legal suits around the globe. In its latest Securities and Exchange Commission quarterly report, the company admitted that the business regulatory agencies of Argentina and South Korea have both opened investigations of the powerful technology company; Google says that it is cooperating with the investigations. In some markets in Europe, Google holds more than 90 percent of the share of the search market. In the U.S., its market share is less than 70 percent.

A spokeswoman said that Google is cooperating with the FTC investigation. In speaking before a Senate committee last fall, Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, said that “We don’t trap our users. If you don’t like the answer that Google Search provides, you can switch to another search engine with literally one click.”

Just the week before, Google had agreed to pay a $25,000 fine after the FTC found that it had obstructed an investigation into its Street View project, under which the company planned to photograph every street in the world; Google denied obstructing the investigation. That $25,000 fine only accounted for 68 seconds in profits for Google: In the last quarter, Google made $2.89 billion.

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34 comments

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6:18AM PDT on May 1, 2012

I rarely if ever use Google, I use DOGPILE

8:01PM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

noted.

8:01PM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

noted.

2:52PM PDT on Apr 29, 2012

Thanks for the heads up. Have been using it because it's clean and I never get AVG warnings about using too much ram. This will cease as of today, and I'll just have to find another browser.

6:59PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

well worth investigating--restraint of competition harms us all

5:25PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

I'm glad I've never used Google.

2:57PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Look for Apple Computer to be under investigation for holding a monopoly position soon ... because the Android operating system for cell phones is dying in popularity leaving only Apple's iOS to dominate the world.

2:29PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

I have to agree with all of the comments, but I have one more thing to put on the table this is just as big as Google. It is comcast they are eating up the communication industry in a most worst way they should be broken up like Clear Channel was, they are hell bent on creationg a monoply of the entertainment industry, & this has to be stopped what they are doing is a crime to the tenth derree times 10000. I am mad a hell to see all the pop up adds for their various invasions so called propertys Xfinity Universal & the NBC networks. It is time to squash what has become Corperate GREED. There is nothing wrong with Capatalism but in everything Too much power & Money is very bad. They need to come down off of their High Horse, & do the right thing for the people who have made them Rich. Let's take away their Piggy Bank so they can see what it feels like.
Marilyn L. hit the nail on the head Thanks. Dave P.

1:15PM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Unticked & noted:(

11:36AM PDT on Apr 28, 2012

Tsk, tsk google. ! Is this what happens when Greed overcomes Ethics?

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