back to article Google to be hit by US anti-trust probe - report

The US Federal Trade Commission is on the verge of serving Google with civil subpoenas as part of a "wide-ranging" antitrust investigation into the company's search and ad practices, according to a report citing people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal reports that a five member FTC panel intends to send the …


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  1. Dropper

    Double take..

    Microsoft complained.. god that's funny. Someone buy Microsoft a huge, fucking, black pot and then send a thousand photos of a kettle.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Up

      So who's next...?

      Or does Microsoft think that by doing this they're search engine policies will be exempt from examination?

    2. Goat Jam

      We don't know what their complaint was

      Perhaps they have a patent on abusing a monopoly in one market to gain business in another?

    3. Lewis Mettler

      MS does violate the law

      There is no question that Microsoft continues to illegally market IE and the OS.

      That has been determined by the US Appellate courts. And, no, Microsoft has not stopped that illegal practice of commingling the code between the OS and IE.

      And for the slow learners out there, they do that so that YOU do not have the option not to buy, install, maintain, support or use IE.

      Not only do your opinions not count if you have a copy of IE, your choice as a consumer also does not count.

      If Microsoft discontinues it's own illegal acts perhaps they might be taken seriously. But, they never will.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        @Lewis Mettler ... WTF?

        First, you're a bit out of date.

        That battle has been over for a while and Microsoft is still acting within the law. And yes the courts are watching.

        But what does this have to do with Google?

        The issue of the article is if Google is violating the law and if it should be found to be a monopoly. Once its found to be a monopoly and it has been abusing their position in one market to stifle competition in another... well then that's when you can compare it to Microsoft and possibly IBM.

        You could also say that Google learned from Microsoft. Sure they paid out hundreds of millions in fines and legal fees. But they made Billions at the same time. You do the math...

        (Lucky that its civil law and not criminal law. But that's a different story and would require you to understand a bit more about the law...)

        1. Ben Tasker


          Whenever Lewis Mettler pops up there seems to be talk of IE, illegal commingling and how anyone with IE needs to shut up because their opinion doesn't count.

          I've been working on the assumption someone at Opera created a time machine and accidentally moved forwards completely missing all the relevant history!

          @Lewis yes IE can be a piece of shit, but as it doesn't directly cost any money no-one seems to care that much outside of the techy world. Blathering on about Chrome (sorry last thing I remember seeing you in) aint gonna change that!

  2. Combat Wombat
    Black Helicopters

    Given the FCC

    its pretty much in bed with the Telco industry... is this perhaps a bit of a broadside over Googles antics when it comes to ensuring openness ?

    Methinks that quiet words were had with the FCC, and the screws have been put on google, to keep the them busy.

    1. Daniel 4

      Federal Trade Commission = FTC, not FCC

      Wrong lumbering US regulatory behemoth. While the telcos may occasionally be found in bed with the FTC too, mostly they flirt coyly across the dinner table at each other.


  3. Turtle

    Let's see now. . .

    So let's see. Monopolistic practices such as blacklisting competitors such as Foundem in their search results and favoring their own services to the detriment of competitors; making money from ads from vendors of illegal pharmaceuticals (for which they have budgeted half-a-fucking-billions dollars to settle with the Feds - and I bet they *still* come ahead on the total they raked in); making money from ads from sites offering illegal downloads of copyrighted materials, copyright-infringement as the basis of YouTube; stealing passwords, data, email, etc with the Google cars they had wired for, shall we say, "electronic surveillance" of anyone within range; throw in the obviously willful patent infringement of the IP that Oracle now has in suit and the anti-competitive actions it took against, Skyhook, both relating to Andriod. . .

    But of course, the FTC and the Senate are really only acting at the behest of Microsoft. But oh, wait, maybe that's wrong, because maybe anyone who thinks so is just, you know, "stupid" and refuses to see that Google is basically a criminal organization.

    And really, if government interference was appropriate for Microsoft, that it is at least as appropriate for Google, and probably a lot more so. A lot more.

    1. MarkieMark1

      the root cause is

      patents granted for business methods, leading naturally to business monopolies

      ah, the irony that guess-who manages a patent database too :-)

    2. Rex Alfie Lee

      Hey Turtle - you stuck your neck out...

      Google, so far have never shown the audacity to abuse their marketing power in the way Microsoft has. Yes, the FTC is responding to a call by the biggest monopoly manipulator of our time. The criminal organisation you speak of, what crimes against humanity do you have to offer rather than blatantly open your big mouth with nothing behind it. Yes, I can name a dozen things that Microsux has done which has been criminal in its intent & they have got away with. If you want I'll source them for you.

      Google doesn't have the patents to abuse in the way Microsoft did & continues to do but now they are losing their hold on the populous as people move towards mobile & away from desktop. Mostly people don't want MSs mobile platform.

      Google has a software evaluation depending on how many times a link is used that moves it up the ranges. I doubt that this pitiful English Search engine has anywhere near the number of clicks occurring bcoz their data is probably limited in comparison anyway. Google has also been doing this longer that the other & if you gave most people the choice one against the other they would choose Google every time.

      Google doesn't depend on you to pay their way so what is your problem? They depend on businesses placing advertisements surreptitiously inside a webpage. You don't like it then use the other Search. Google won't care & neither do I.

      1. Turtle

        Exaclty the type of person I had in mind!

        If you look at my post again, pay careful attention to the following paragraph:

        ". . . anyone who thinks so is just, you know, "stupid" and refuses to see that Google is basically a criminal organization."

        Do you know why I wrote that? Because I *knew* that I could expect a reply from someone just like you!

        1. Figgus

          What's wrong with this?

          This is no different than Sony Electronics recommending Sony branded batteries in their owners manual, or General motors dealers using GMAC parts during their repairs, or basically nothing different than 99% of businesses on the planet do.

          If you don't like it, don't buy Sony Electronics, don't buy GM cars, and don't use Google for searches. How is this too hard to comprehend?

      2. Ian Michael Gumby

        @Rex Alfie Lee

        "Google, so far have never shown the audacity to abuse their marketing power in the way Microsoft has. "

        Uhm, you're joking right?

        Its so hard to tell if you're saying this with a straight face, or you really are that dense or so blinded by Google.

        For the record, Google has indeed broken the law. Stop me if you heard this one about a company that while mapping the streets was actually 'war driving' and capturing any unencrypted traffic it might have snarfed. Of course the law is different in each country, however I believe this action was illegal in most of the jurisdiction when it occurred.

        Google is evil. No joke about that.

        Its amazing to see all of the Microsoft bashing when Google is acting just as bad.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    The first rule of a monopoly is.

    "We have *no* monopoly. We're just *really* good at our business. Anyone could compete with us if they wanted to*"

    Thumbs up for this. Better late than never.

    *And had a few $Bn to build the data centres and get Intel to specially screen their processors for us.That's called a "Barrier to market entry"

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      To be clear

      Don't like monopolies.

      Do believe is a *highly* dominant player in the search market.

      Do believe an FTC anti trust prove is overdue.

  5. Steven Roper
    Thumb Up

    What's a "broad antitrust prode"?

    Is that a prode which is similar to a probe but delivered more forcefully and perhaps anally, like a prod of the cattle variety?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's a "broad antitrust prode"?

      Very good. Fixed.

      1. Francis Fish

        Aw ...


  6. David Kelly 2

    Whitelist is good

    Google's search engine got to where it is today by deliberately handicapping the results presented resulting in *better* results than the others who often returned either nonsense or so much bulk that the item of interest still a needle in the haystack.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    An Inconvenient Matter in a Bit of the Enigma Riddle that is the Pocket Rocket, Titanic Colossus*

    "The FTC is looking at whether Google manipulates its search results to steer users to its own sites and services.

    Google has not commented on the matter.

    Google's competitors argue that the search giant, which handles roughly two out of every three internet searches in the US, has used its dominant standing in search to improperly promote its other products, like mapping, shopping and travel websites." .....

    Err, excuse me, but is that normal human behaviour and capitalistic business practice? Is it a crime?

    *Advanced Turing BetaTested Virtual Machine Programs Drivers ....... Alien Self Actualised Power Source with Rich Intellectual Property Supply ....... Virgin CodeXSSXXXX.

    Is that Sir Richards being propositioned to pimp and pump an Alien dimension to Time and Travel in Space and on Earth? :-) The Virtual Tale of Heavenly Rewards in Resolution of Future Intelligent Presentations, with Oneself and/or SMART Proxies of Oneself in SuperStar Model Roles.

    There's a lot of very weird things out there in Space and some of them you will not want to miss the chance and opportunity to enjoy them in your own Private Dream World ..... Heaven on Earth, where Life is a Dream. Imagine, and it's true.

    Novel Control of Applied Imagination is a Future Operating System Driver for SMARTer Virtual Machinery Evolutions. That it is a present commodity offered to the money markets, and is actively testing for advanced levels of Attained Intelligence.

    Please excuse the somewhat cryptic/garbled nature of the above, El Reg, but a few key pieces of the Big Picture needed Production and Stealthy Insertion ..... for Sweet Introduction of Instant Sustained Physical and MetaPhysical Attraction. A Nymphs and Satyrs Kick which is a Joy to Share and Driver/Champion.

    1. Luther Blissett

      Oh <super>'man

      I am having trouble here not parsing 'Alien' as either 'alien' (fine by me - Mars can attack any time, lol, as long as IT remembers to bring the goodies), or as 'AI' with a rhetorical desinence (in other tokens, like a good cigar after an excellent dinner, lol2), but as the problematic superstring 'A' + 'lien'.

      And while there may be a lot of very weird things out there that I haven't yet dreamed in my philosophy, as I put out my midsummer night's Dream Catcher, the last thing I want to find when I wake in the morning (worse even than being neck-deep in the mud at Glasto), is that the banana in the net is attached to a proverbial but not at all virtual gorilla that sounds similar to Gurgle or Giggle or (feeling for my wallet, here) Gobble.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby

      @ A man from mars

      "Err, excuse me, but is that normal human behaviour and capitalistic business practice? Is it a crime?"

      In a simple one word sentence that even you can understand... YES.

      For the longer version... When a company abuses its dominant market position to enter and hamper the markets of another product or service, it is illegal. Of course it depends on what country but here in the US there's this thing called the Sherman Anti-trust Act?

      I'm assuming that each other Western country that is part of the G8 also has adopted similar laws...

  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Fab Phishing

    A good search engine operation would be able to front run any emerging novelty and steer its direction in travel, via Global Interest Feedback .... Constructive Cosmic Commentary.

  9. Rex Alfie Lee

    Google's results not based on a blacklist...

    Their program Search builds depending on the number of times a page is opened by a user or a link to that page is clicked. It has nothing to do with "blacklisting". This is paranoid crap unless the potentiating company has manipulated their own results causing circular linking which is in itself an attempt to monopolise unfairly. Google blacklists them but this means dropping them down a level not removing them.

    Google's variants; ie Maps & the like; have been around a lot longer than any others & originally there were no competitors. Bcoz of the previous point, these selections have been used much more so & so have claimed a higher level than the others that are relatively new given that the whole parade is only really in force over 16 yrs. So Google gets the levels bcoz they are the ones that are mostly chosen. Why would you waste your time on a different Search engine that doesn't do the job properly...

    1. DavCrav

      Facts are not necessary for comment

      "Google's variants; ie Maps & the like; have been around a lot longer than any others & originally there were no competitors."

      When writing a sentence that is demonstrably either true or false, try to make sure it cannot be easily falsified with five minutes of searching on Wikipedia.

      Google Maps: 2005.

      MapQuest: 1996

      OpenStreetMap: 2004.

      Yahoo! Maps: 2005 (I think)

      That's a few for you to be getting on with.

      1. Figgus


        Those other searches you cite suck runny arse juices. The poster's point still stands in that Google had the first POLISHED and USABLE goodies.

        1. DavCrav

          Ah, the true Scotsman rears his head

          "Those other searches you cite suck runny arse juices. The poster's point still stands in that Google had the first POLISHED and USABLE goodies"

 has a neat summary of your particular brand of begging the question.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      After denying the existence of black or white lists for a long time, Google have recently admitted they have exception lists. It may be a coincidence that they changed their tune shortly after EU antitrust investigators started asking questions, and as we don't know which sites are on the list we can't tell whether or not they are being used for anticompetitive purposes. For one example of Matt Cutts talking about exception list see:

      It also isn't true that Maps originally had no competitors. Sites such as map24 were there before Google, and regularly turned up at or near the top of searches before Google launched Maps. You could be forgiven for thinking they didn't exist though, because when Maps launched the competitors stopped appearing in search results so often or so high, while Maps appeared at or near the top.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby

        Uhmmm... just to set the record straight...

        Google Maps bought their map data from Navteq and TeleAtlas. Navteq bought Map24 and was since acquired by Nokia. TeleAtlas was acquired by and is now owned by TomTom.

        Both Navteq and TeleAtlas have been in the mapping business prior to Google being a search engine.

  10. Someone Else Silver badge


    Current reads: "FTC preps microscope, eyes Mountain View ass"

    Shouldn't that be a proctoscope?

  11. kain preacher


    Did Bill gates stand you up at the prom ?

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