Google’s New Anti-Trust Probe by the FTC

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

google-anti-trustGoogle is once again facing another antitrust probe by the FTC. This time around it is centered on whether Google is curbing the competition through their leadership in online display-marketing advertising.

This isn’t the first probe that Google has received. Recently, a 20-month probe that focused on Google skewing search results and misusing patents to throw off the competition in smartphone technology was ended. In the end, Google said that it would voluntarily remove restrictions on the use of its advertising platform and allow companies to keep themselves off of Google’s search results.

Now, The FTC has received clearance to move forward from the Justice Department. This new probe is exploring Google’s ever increasing market share with some of its digital tools and services, which includes the technology that places ads on websites.

They are checking to see if Google is using their tools to force companies to use their other services rather than the services of their competitors with some of these tools coming from the purchase of DoubleClick Inc. in 2007. They are also seeing if Google is trying to squeeze out the competition through the use of their strong dominance in the search advertising field.

The market share shows just how powerful Google is in the display ad market. Google reached 24 percent during the first quarter in the U.S., while competitors of Google, such as Facebook and Yahoo, garnered less than 10 percent. Google was also able to take 47 percent of the U.S. digital ad spending in the first quarter. With internet marketing being regarded as one of the biggest trends in business advertising, this is clearly a big issue for FTC to look at.

The thing that worries the FTC is that the merge between Google and DoubleClick could engage in a high amount of anticompetitive strategies. They fear that with the use of these anticompetitive strategies, they with further enhance their positions in various markets.The practice of bundling services and products together may be a violation of antitrust laws if the practice is being done by a company that has the market power to force customers to obtain products and services that would normally be preferable from other companies.

If producers are unable to get to their customers because of the anticompetitive strategies of more dominant companies, then that’s a legitimate harm to antitrust, which must be brought to an end if discovered true. Even more, some businesses already have banned Google Glass, so it appears that Google is just having all sorts of trouble with laws and regulations.

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