Feeds

Open wide, Google: Here comes an advertising antitrust probe

Can one ever escape the Choc Factory, FTC 'ponders'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Ad giant Google is facing an antitrust probe intended to establish whether it exploits its dominance in the advertising trade to steer customers away from rivals' products.

According to a Bloomberg report, the US Federal Trade Commission is in the preliminary stages of an investigation, which may not develop into a full-blown public inquiry.

The Chocolate Factory looms large in the $17.7bn display ads industry in America, but FTC investigators want to know whether Google exploits its power to push companies towards using more of its own services, something which is illegal under antitrust laws.

Google stands accused of allegedly using its DoubleClick system to push advertising buyers into using other Mountain View-owned products.

Neither Google nor the FTC have commented on the matter.

As news of the probe circulated yesterday, Google's stock fell by 1 per cent to close at $882.79, down $6.63.

Google has already agreed to change the way it does business in Europe, after it was alleged the Chocolate Factory abused its search dominance. Rivals had one month from April 25 to respond to the proposed changes.

Google is also being probed over its use of standard-essential patents owned by Motorola Mobility, which Mountain View owns.

Google ave also faced down attacks in other countries, including an investigation from Canada’s Competition Bureau. South Korean antitrust cops raided Google's offices in Seoul back in 2011.

In January, the FTC cleared Google of weighting search results to nobble its competitors.

The FTC investigation followed complaints from a suite of competitors including Microsoft and Trip Advisor. In a letter, the founders of Foundem told the FTC that Google used "anticompetitive search manipulations [to] lay waste to entire classes of competitors in every sector where Google chooses to deploy them". ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.