FTC's Settlement With Google Fails To End Key Abuse, Consumer Watchdog Says
WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2013
Department of Justice, State Attorneys General Must Press To End Search Bias
WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Federal Trade
Commission's settlement with Google fails to end its most anticompetitive
practice, Consumer Watchdog said today and the public interest group called on
the Department of Justice and state attorneys general to press forward to end
the Internet giant's monopolistic behavior in search results.
"Google clearly skews search results to favor its own products and services
while portraying the results as unbiased. That undermines competition and
hurts consumers," said John M. Simpson, director of the group's Privacy
Project. "The FTC rolled over for Google. They've accepted Google executives'
promises that they will change two practices without even requiring a consent
agreement, but Google has a track record of broken promises. Don't forget,
this fall the FTC fined Google $22.5 million for violating its most recent
consent agreement. Why would the FTC take Google at its word?"
The new Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Antitrust
Division, William J. Baer, should make Google's abuse of search a top
priority, Consumer Watchdog said.
The FTC's settlement does require a consent agreement regarding so-called
Standards Essential Patents held by Google's Motorola subsidiary. Google is
now required to license these patents to any company on "fair, reasonable and
non-discriminatory" terms – known as FRAND terms.
"This will help ensure competition in the manufacture of smartphones and
tablets," said Simpson, "but that was never the heart of the issue. Biased
search and Google's favoring its own properties do real consumer harm. Google
is the gateway to the Internet for most people. When Google rigs the game, we
all suffer. They need to be stopped."
Consumer Watchdog expressed concern that FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who is
expected to step down from the commission soon, may have rushed to finish the
investigation so it could be concluded under his chairmanship.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest group noted that Google's
monopolistic business practices are under investigation by a number of state
attorneys general including Texas, California, New York and Ohio. European
Union competition officials are also investigating Google.
Visit our website at www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.
SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
Contact: John M. Simpson, +1-310-392-7041; Carmen Balber, +1-202-629-3043
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