FTC 'Google Recognizes its Responsibilities as an Industry Leader', Ends Antitrust

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today address some of Google's improper business practices after an exhaustive 19-month review that covered millions of pages of documents and involved many hours of testimony --said that there's not enough evidence that Google has adopted an unfair tactic to gain an advantage over its competitors, and that "Google's services […]

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The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today address some of Google's improper business practices after an exhaustive 19-month review that covered millions of pages of documents and involved many hours of testimony --said that there's not enough evidence that Google has adopted an unfair tactic to gain an advantage over its competitors, and that "Google's services are good for users and good for competition."

But, the Mountain View-based search giant has agreed to change some of its business practices and to this announced of making two voluntary product changes in addition, to resolve standard-essential patent disputes through a neutral third party before seeking injunctions. "This agreement establishes clear rules of the road for standards essential patents going forward."

  • "More choice for websites: Websites can already opt out of Google Search, and they can now remove content (for example reviews) from specialized search results pages, such as local, travel and shopping;
  • More ad campaign control: Advertisers can already export their ad campaigns from Google AdWords. They will now be able to mix and copy ad campaign data within third-party services that use our AdWords API," the company wrote in a blog post.

Microsoft who is diappointed with the ruling said FTC's overall resolution of this matter is weak and--frankly--unusual. "We are concerned that the FTC may not have obtained adequate relief even on the few subjects that Google has agreed to address."

Adding further, that "the FTC did not follow its standard practice in exercising due diligence by obtaining feedback from the industry on the specific terms of Google's promise before accepting it as a suitable resolution of this matter," wrote Dave Heiner, VP & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft.

"Google inexplicably has not promised to allow all advertisers to port their campaign data to other ad platforms--only those with a primary billing address in the US. But many firms based outside the USs advertise in the US."

"What basis is there for excluding them from the protection embodied in Google's commitments?," Microsoft argues. "Nor is it clear that Google has even promised to eliminate all of the contractual restrictions that had the effect of blocking data portability. And Google's promise does not include language standard in antitrust remedies that would prevent it from circumventing its promise by other means," Heiner adds.

Microsoft also vocied again emphasized that Google blocks creating a "high-quality" YouTube app for the Windows Phone, "(W)e are also disappointed that the FTC chose not to seek relief on other issues. Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering a high-quality YouTube app for the Windows Phone." While also serving ads to those using the Shopping service. In addition, "Google routinely and systematically heavily promotes its own services in search results."

"Is Google+ really more relevant than Facebook? Are Google's travel results better than those offered by Expedia, Kayak and others? We also know that Google ranks shopping results (the most important category commercially) in part on the basis of how much advertisers pay to Google for placement, after very publicly promising that it would never do so," added Heiner.

The good news is that other antitrust agencies, within the United States and overseas, are still examining Google's conduct. "We remain hopeful that these agencies will stick to their established procedures, ensure transparency, and obtain the additional relief needed to address the serious competition law concerns that remain," Heiner concluded.

About The Author

Deepak Gupta is a IT & Web Consultant. He is the founder and CEO of diTii.com & DIT Technologies, where he's engaged in providing Technology Consultancy, Design and Development of Desktop, Web and Mobile applications using various tools and softwares. Sign-up for the Email for daily updates. Google+ Profile.