FTC Puts The Pressure On Google To Settle Over Antitrust Talks, Or Face Formal Complaint

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According to Bloomberg, the FTC is turning up the heat on Google over ongoing antitrust talks about the company’s practices. In fact, the FTC wants to settle the issue, or it will move forward with a formal complaint. This could turn into a long, drawn-out legal proceeding that would be expensive and time-consuming for both, to say the least.

The current talks have gone on for over two weeks, but have been completely private. The issues stem from the FTC feeling that Google is “abusing” its dominance on the Internet, specifically when it comes to its search engine.

A formal complaint could come within two weeks, a source told Reuters.

A spokesperson for Google, Adam Kovacevich, had this to say:

We continue to work cooperatively with the Federal Trade Commission and are happy to answer any questions they may have

Google has settled with the FTC in the past, specifically regarding its practices when it came to bypassing privacy settings in Safari.

The FTC says that Google is ranking things that it owns higher than its competitors, on its search engine. For example, Yahoo! and Bing are crying foul, because marketers and advertisers can’t see who performs better, due to these alleged Google practices. In addition, Google’s Android arm has been accused of “misusing” patents it owns to block other companies from launching smartphones.

At what point does disruption and innovation turn into something illegal? We’re going to learn soon. Personally, I feel like anti-competitive complaints certainly have a place in business and society, but I’m not so sure that this particular grievance will actually make its way through to an “ending” that will be grossly consequential for Google in the longrun. When you’re working on things that are simply better than everyone else, there tends to be issues. Whether what Google does is “trickery” or not is up for panels to decide, not public opinion.

Basically, why should Google settle if it feels that it has done nothing wrong?

Keep an eye out for more on this, it’s getting hot.

[Photo credit: Flickr]