FTC report claims that Google abused its monopoly power2015-03-21 09:37 by Daniela
Tags: FTC, Google
The Wall Street Journal has obtained a previously undisclosed report from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission revealing that Google Inc. has manipulated its search results in different ways to promote its own services at the expense of its rivals. The documents were accidentally sent by the FTC in response of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The report was part of a "lengthy" investigation in 2012 during which the agency found that Google had abused its power as the world's most dominant search engine. The company's anti-competitive pratices included: changing its ranking criteria in a way that was artificially tailored to its own services; "scraping" content from other sites—i.e. stealing it without a license; artificially demoting rival services.
Those tactics have hurted competitors like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Yelp publicly accused the company of copying its reviews in the past, and now it turns out that Google also copied Amazon product rankings. Other rivals continue to complain to regulators about some of Google's search and advertising practices.
When the FTC issued its judgement in a 160-page document in early 2013, it sent a copy of it to Google's managers but decided to not sue the company.
Google said in a statement that "after an exhaustive 19-month review, covering 9 million pages of documents and many hours of testimony, the FTC staff and all five commissioner agreed that there was no need to take action on how we rank and display search results."
A representative of the FTC said the agency had no comment on the report. Meanwhile, Google may face a new antitrust fight, as regulators probe how the giant manages its Android mobile-operating system.
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