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FTC report recommended suing Google for antitrust practices

It was two years ago when Google agreed to make minor alterations to its business practices, but continued to argue that the report showed little wrongdoing. The FTC argued that Google employed anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users.

This latest FTC report, which was meant to be kept under lock and key but was inadvertently released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request, concluded that Google's practices were indeed harming both the consumer and rival companies. It details patent exploitation through the acquisition of Motorola and the manipulation of search engine results to favor its own sites.

"On one issue—whether Google used anticompetitive tactics for its search engine—the competition staff recommended against a lawsuit, although it said Google's actions resulted in "significant harm" to rivals. In three other areas, the report found evidence the company used its monopoly behavior to help its own business and hurt its rivals."

It was reported that Google was breaking antitrust law by restricting websites that publish search results from also working with rival search engines, such as Bing by Microsoft. The search giant also illegally pulled data from rival web properties to improve its own rankings.

"On the most important issue, that of Google's prized search engine, the FTC report said Google altered it to benefit its own services at the expense of rivals. The report said Google adopted a strategy of demoting, or refusing to display, links to certain vertical websites in highly commercial categories."

So while it may appear as though Google managed to get away with the FTC recommending only some minor points in the final proceedings, this document shows just how close the call was. The company currently finds itself in the midst of the EU Commission's investigation, which is currently deciding on how to proceed.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

46 Comments
  • Why is this here? I Don't buy it for any of it, this is saint Google we are talking about here, they don't do anything evil /s.
  • Google have been getting away with it by staying close and very involve with the government as well as continuing to their donations (bribes) to folks in Washington and people in position of power.
  • Yeah.If Microsoft got sued for things like Internet Explorer being mandatory on their OS then Apple and Google clearly are breaching antitrust laws.
  • Except on android you can change the search, the others you really can't ( i mean you can, but to a very limited degree)
  • Not even close to truthful. Search provider change in Windows is as simple as a drop down box. No matter how well intentioned they started Google's growth is the poster child for how power corrupts. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love Google and their products/services, but Google is becoming very powerful very quickly. We need to watch Google and their practices very closely... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yes.. Because Skynet is near right? Posted via the Android Central App
  • No, we need to watch the government. The government is way to big Posted via the Android Central App
  • I tend to agree more with this line of thought. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not trying to turn this into a political discussion, but the primary reason for rapid expansion of govt is demand for govt benefits. The new mantra in America seems to be give me govt benefits, but don't let the dirty rotten govt monitor me or tell me what to do. When one accepts money from their boss (private industry) one agrees to do what the boss says and agrees to have their email monitored and company phone tapped. I can't fathom why folks that accept govt benefits (and all Rs and Ds are receiving some and demanding more) don't view it the same way.
  • We need to watch both big companies and big government. Either one can easily overreach their bounds. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Except Big Companies own most of our Government and run it. Huge revolving door policy with the agencies that are suppose to regulate the business' that have their employees work for those agencies. Goldman Sachs in the Treasury and FTC, Monsanto employees now work in the FDA, and so on and so on. Our representatives now work for corporations and Lobbyist once they can't get re-elected. 'I see in the near future a crisis approaching that un-nerves me and cause me to tremble for the safety of my country...corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow..' Abraham Lincoln
  • Isn't this called good competition? If you don't like a search engine, plenty more to choose from. Just because of the number of users is high, doesn't make it any different.
  • If only Microsoft was allowed to use that defense back in the day.
  • I think they would get away with it now, considering all of the other operating system options.
  • To be fair, while Microsoft was being investigated for anti-competitive practices and monopolistic behavior, there weren't a lot of competing services for consumers to choose from. The landscape is a lot different now: competing mobile platforms, competing desktop platforms, competing search engines, competing email providers, etc. Also, if that excuse worked for Microsoft, then they would have had no reason to infuse cash into Apple, and Apple would have gone bankrupt.
  • Microsoft wasn't just getting slammed for IE, they had a sales program that forbid OEMs from making dual boot machines, they had hidden APIs that gave their programs an advantage over others, they would take existing standards, "extend" with their own proprietary code and then "extinguish" them by getting people used to the MS version and viewing the standard as inferior. MS was a major bully.
  • The FTC has no business suing someone for doing what they want with their own property.
  • Why not? They have to "protect" us consumers who apparently are incapable of deciding for ourselves. Posted via the Android Central App on the 2nd Gen. Moto X
  • That defeats the financial structure of this country, capitalism. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, because that's worked so well.
  • Uuuuhhhh yeah it sure as hell has. We are the strongest economic power in the world by FAR. If there is one OBVIOUS pattern anyone can see in the world is that the more capitalist the nations economic system is, the more prosperous and free the people are. Let's not kid ourselves here. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's exactly what the FTC was designed for back in the early 20th Century. Posted from my Motorola Moto G.
  • You're an idiot. Let me spell it out for you. 1. Google was stealing other company's hard work and profiting off of it. 2. When those companies complained, Google threatened to remove them from search. That's blackmail. 3. Google threatened companies who worked with Bing. 4. Google damn near destroyed Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as many other companies by stealing from them. 5. Google manipulated search results to favor their own products, even when their services weren't the best. This is just a drop in the bucket. Stealing passwords, emails, and user info on open Wifi networks in Europe, intentionally blocking Youtube on Windows Phone, to many other thing. What Google did was steal, blackmail, and destroy competition and innovation. They're still doing it. The FTC and the Justice Dept. let them off because Google has bought off the government. Google spends far more on lobbying than just about anyone. The boom should have been lowered on Google far worse than it was on Microsoft, because they are far worse. You can keep worshiping at the altar of Google like a complete shill, but what Google did was vile and illegal. They deserved punishment just like Microsoft deserved it. They are the most anti-competitive company on the face of this planet, and they have no respect for anyone's technology, property, or patented IP. They think it's theirs to steal and profit from.
  • Was there anything truthful in that comment? I realize that you think you're God (seeing as you think you can read my mind) but you're not. 1. Google stole nothing. 2. Google's right as the owner of their property 3. See #2. 4. See #1. Also, they are free to run whoever they want out of business. 5. See #2. Google didn't steal people's email or anything else. They blocked YouTube because Microsoft violated the ToS by not showing ads. Get a grip on reality. You have no ability to speak your opinions into reality. Idiot.
  • Just a side note, ms fixed its YouTube app to play ads and google still blocked it even though it didn't violate its tos. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Who cares? This is supposed to be a country with a free market. If this was really an issue then people would leave Google for another search engine. Instead Google remains the best, and nothing will change that. Other than government intervention that is. Posted via the Android Central App on the 2nd Gen. Moto X
  • While I agree with your sentiment, the United States is not a purely free market. It hasn't been since Teddy Roosevelt. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is true. Not a completely free market at all. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google offers a great lineup of products and services. That said, they are becoming all powerful and almost "Orwellian" in their scope of business. That is reason enough to be aware of exactly how much info Google keeps track of. Don't expect the Feds to police Google though. Google has a huge amount of money to buy err... donate to the deep pockets in DC. I think that old saying keep your friends close and your enemies closer apples here. From the DeathStar using my rooted LG G2
  • If you're not cheating you're not trying. That what we say in sports, and the same probably applies here.
  • Seems like a lot of you guys are ok with Google having a monopoly but if Verizon bought one of the other major telecommunications providers you would be up in arms. While I love Google and all of their products we still have to make sure that business practices stay ethical. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Quite right; that's some pretty damning behaviour from Google there. I don't know why some Americans feel the need to defend corporations, especially the all powerful ones. Google isn't some plucky little company struggling against the system. Posted via Android Central App
  • Defend corporatons? Ha. You haven't hung around this site much. Wait until a similar story on Apple is posted. You'll see that hate. The fact is, as much as some might be upset by this, it happens every day. With billion dollar companies and your local mom and pop shops. It's business and stock holders want to make money. Large companies are pressured into doing things like this. Posted via the Android Central App
  • One difference is that we aren't paying Google other than by providing usage patterns and being ad guinea pigs.if Verizon were to buy Sprint and quit charging me anything since they can already track my usage, I would be far less upset.
  • Google own's everything Posted on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 that is happy to not be on Lollipop.
  • Not even close, but nice try.
  • Europe is doing a much better job keeping the company on their toes regarding their practices than the US government. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well it's easy to see why. Google is ranked number one in the US as far as tech company is concern in donation (legal bribery) to our government. Look around to see how many former google folks are in some key government position. A lot of former google employees have successful infiltrate the government in some key positions, their latest addition Michelle Lee is now leading the Patent Office. That's how you can keep going over the line and always settle when/if you ever get caught. Apple learned that lesson with their ebook case, it was no accident that soon after that verdict Apple have stepped up their own contributions (legal bribery). Frankly not surprise by any of this that's how you stay ahead once you become a monopoly. "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." No one and certainly no company is above that Lord Acton quote.
  • "No one and certainly no company is above that Lord Acton quote." You're absolutely right. Not even Apple is above it.
  • Do no evil. I am glad to be slowly moving away from google services. If Windows Phone could mature a little more I'd be done.
  • See ya!!!!!
  • I was waiting for the paranoid, tin foil hat wearing brigade, and I wasn't disappointed.
  • Is this Android news?
  • Not surprising. Most people on this site will probably protest the results because Google can do no harm according to most people here. Posted on my OnePlus One
  • A company is pushing it's own products? Heaven forbid. Congress passes regulations making it harder for smaller companies to compete. Then FTC wants to talk about anti competition laws. Posted via the Android Central App