United States FTC to make decision on Google anti-trust case

Tue 16th of October 2012, filed under Internet News

Decision due on landmark Google lawsuit

New information has been uncovered which suggests the majority of the US Federal Trade Commission is in support of an anti-trust action against Google.

Reuters sources revealed that of the five FTC commissioners, four of them are in support of taking this action against Google, with a final decision expected inside the next two months. The question being asked of Google is whether it manipulates its search results to promote its own products, while punishing products from rivals in these results.

With Google holding such a large percentage of the search market, any such influence on their search results would have a considerable impact on the success of a product. This would make any anti-trust action highly significant, with the potential to boost Amazon, Apple, Bing and others as well as harming Google's profits.

If such action does take place, it is expected to be the largest case of this kind since 1998, when Microsoft were accused of promoting their Internet Explorer product over rivals such as Netscape. Shivaun Raff, who was one of original complainants and runs the British search engine Foundem, commented to the Guardian: "The harm being caused by Google's preferential placement is not only about consumer deception; it is primarily about the competition-crushing power of Google's ability to divert substantial volumes of traffic and revenues away from competing services and to its own."

Day of bad news for Google

This was not the only piece of bad news for Google today, with the EU demanding a privacy review into the way the company collects the personal information of users. This follows a nine month investigation into Google merging the privacy policies from over 60 products into one single agreement. Google insists the policy is in line with the law, but has agreed to look at the 12 recommendations made.

Adrian Mursec, senior developer at theEword commented : "This is clearly not an ideal situation for Google, as they face two problematic news stories in the space of a day. However Microsoft have shown it is possible to recover from such action and continue to be successful, and Google will be hoping that these cases do not detract from their search engine dominance."

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