Dismayed, yes. Disappointed, to be sure. But Gary Reback, one of Silicon Valley's best known antitrust attorneys, gave no indication today that his hopes for a government antitrust case against Google had been dashed by the FTC's decision today to settle its investigation into the search company with a deal.Reback, who played a key role mobilizing support in Washington for an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft, has urged similar action against Google. As a counsel at the firm Carr & Ferrell LLP, he has argued publicly for the last couple of years about Google's behavior, saying it … Read more
Yelp, the local listing service that has long been critical of Google's ways, is understandably disappointed with the FTC's settlement with the search giant. Other than a few minor concessions -- which you can read about here -- the government determined that Google's search practices are legal.
"Today's announcements by the FTC validate a number of the concerns we have raised about Google's dominance in the search market and its anti-competitive behavior," Yelp said in a statement. "The closure of the Commission's investigation into search bias by Google without action, however, … Read more
The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it has completed a nearly two-year investigation into Google's business practices. Here are some of the key takeaways:
On the issue most important to Google, Google won. The most potentially damaging line of inquiry undertaken by the FTC concerned accusations that Google's search results were unfairly biased in favor of its own products. Some critics wanted to see mandated changes to Google algorithms. But after considering a number of approaches, FTC commissioners decided unanimously that Google was not violating any antitrust laws when it comes to search results. For Google, this … Read more
Google competitors unhappy with the way their search results are displayed on Google search pages will be able to opt out under an agreement announced today by the Federal Trade Commission.
That was perhaps the most significant plank of a multipart agreement announced by the FTC after a lengthy investigation into Google's practices. The agreement will require Google to make minor changes to resolve complaints by competitors and advertisers. It avoided any fines.
At the same time, the FTC voted 5-0 that Google's search results were not biased in favor of its own results in a way that … Read more
Google is poised to settle the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's long-running antitrust investigation by agreeing to voluntarily change some of its business practices, Bloomberg reported today.
The FTC has been investigating a wide range of Google's business practices, focusing mostly on the way Google displays search results, which critics say favor the company's own services over those of its competitors. The U.S. trade agency has also been examining Google decisions on technology licensing, which some argue are anti-competitive.
As part of the settlement of the trade agency's 20-month probe, the search giant is agreeing … Read more
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission's final decision on its 20-month long antitrust probe of the search giant will be delayed until next year, Bloomberg reported late yesterday after speaking with unnamed sources.
The results of the probe were expected to be announced this week.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has been in talks with the FTC over the past two weeks, and according to Bloomberg, Google has been preparing a letter with voluntary changes to try to end the FTC's investigation without it resulting in a formal settlement or eventual lawsuit.
In addition, the FTC has … Read more
Anyone wanting to download the SpongeBob Diner Dash game from Apple's iTunes app store today is out of luck.
Nickelodeon has removed the app from the store after an advocacy group filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging the game violated children's online privacy rights by collecting their e-mail addresses without parents' permission.
According to the Center for Digital Democracy, which filed the complaint earlier today, cable network Nickelodeon and mobile game-maker PlayFirst are misleadingly marketing the game and are violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
SpongeBob Diner Dash is a free app … Read more
The Federal Trade Commission may bring its two-year antitrust investigation of Google to a close by allowing the company to make voluntary changes to its search business, according to a report.
The search giant is said to be readying an announcement about changes to its use of "snippets," bits of text culled from sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor and displayed in search results, Politico reports, citing unnamed sources. Yelp and others had charged Google with using their content without permission.
Google will also make tweaks that will allow for easier porting of search-ad campaigns from Google to … Read more
Both outlets, citing sources familiar with the matter, said Google is prepared to agree not to use its patent war chest to block the sale of products it believes infringe on its intellectual property. The agreement would cover what are known as standard essential patents, which cover technology used in technical standards. (Reuters uses the example of a patent that ensures one brand of wireless phone can call another brand.)
Google has used those patents in … Read more
In February 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report titled Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are Disappointing (PDF) that pointed out that there was "little or no" privacy information available to parents in the Android Google Play and Apple iOS app stores prior to download and scarce data in the apps themselves or on the app vendors websites.
And on Monday, the FTC issued a follow up report, Mobile Apps for Kids Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade that complains that "despite many high-visibility efforts to increase transparency in the mobile marketplace, little … Read more