The FTC is moving forward in pursuing a possible antitrust lawsuit against Google on the grounds that they used their position on top of the search market to hurt their competition. While four of the commissioners involved seem certain that this is the case, the fifth is more skeptical.
This isn’t the first time we’ve reported on Google’s situation with the FTC, and is far from likely that it will be the last. This particular matter isn’t the only one, either. In addition to being investigated over possible misuse of its search dominance, just earlier this week we mentioned the FTC’s scrutiny of Google regarding its patents.
The Matter at Hand
It isn’t other search engines that are complaining about Google; rather it’s more specialized companies that focus on things like travel and shopping. Both Yelp and Nextag have openly complained about Google to congress during hearings. They allege that Google lowers competitors search engine rankings to drive customers to their own products, meaning that other companies need to purchase advertising if they want to be displayed in a prominent position on Google.
Google denies this, saying that they aren’t doing anything wrong. While Google spokeswoman Niki Fenwick has said that “”We are happy to answer any questions that regulators have about our business,” the FTC has declined to comment on the issue.
Where Could This Go From Here?
If the antitrust case does happen and Google is found to have broken any laws the company will have two options, the first of which is to try to negotiate a settlement with the FTC to resolve the issues at hand. The other option would include a lengthy court battle. No matter which happens, it doesn’t appear that pleasant times are ahead for Google given that this is only one of the legal matters it is currently dealing with.
Do you think the FTC is going to move forward and file a lawsuit against Google? If this is the case, who do you think will come out on top?