According to multiple sources the Federal Trade Commission is ready to present a case against Google Inc. in what will likely be a messy situation for Google. Sources claim the FTC has been compiling a long list of companies that have filed complaints against the search engine giant’s tactics to dominate the search market, advertising and smartphone industry. While the sources did not name any names, Yelp and Nextag have presented their stances in open hearings in Congress.
Competitors claim Google has been unfairly rating competing sites to show up low on searches, while Google’s own products show up high on search results. The claim is that users will likely click results on the top of pages and not sift through results lower on the list.
In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last year, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said, “May I simply say that I can assure you we’ve not cooked anything” when questioned about potential antitrust practices by Google.
In separate complaints, Google’s advertising practices have come in to question, since Google has apparently refused to share data with advertisers and developers to show the value of Google advertising versus other search companies. On the smartphone patent front, the Commission is apparently investigating whether Google’s patent portfolio is being licensed lawfully and whether patent infringement cases are used to deter innovation.
Google may face a series of colossal battles against the FTC in the coming months. The FTC has already lawyered up and hired a high-powered attorney to lead the investigation, which many assume is meant to bring a suit against Google.
It’s never fun to go to legal battle against the government, especially considering the heavy fines and regulation the FTC can enforce against companies. We’ll have to see if the FTC finds any wrong, look for potential lawsuits later this year.