Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Google off the antitrust hook?

Monday's WSJ reports that Google and the Federal Trade Commission are close to signing an agreement under which Google agrees to change some business practices and the Feds walk away from the litigation option.  Google controls about two-thirds of the search business in the US.  That might be enough to statistically qualify as a monopoly, but as a former FTC employee put it: "We don't want to punish monopolists just for being monopolists."  Lacking evidence of harm to consumers, the FTC apparently concluded it had no case.

The European Union will continue to pursue its case against Google.  The outcome could very well end up being different on the other side of the pond, where harm to competitors (e.g., Microsoft) is grounds for antitrust action. 

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