FTC Supposedly Getting Ready To Go After Google For Antitrust Violations

from the what-consumer-harm dept

Reuters is reporting that 4 out of 5 FTC Commissioners have decided they have enough evidence to go after Google for violating antitrust laws to "hurt its rivals." Details remain sparse, but it will be interesting to see any specifics once they're out, and how they show any kind of consumer harm. From what's been said in the past, it really feels like this is yet another case of going after a company because it's big, rather than because of any demonstrable problem. Tim Wu, who's been advising the FTC, has argued in the past that all you have to be is big to be a monopolist, but I don't see how that makes any sense. As we've discussed before, no one has provided a reasonable suggestion as to why Google should need to promote other search engines. Especially in this day and age when different services are eating away at Google from a variety of angles (Apple and Facebook have been quite successful), and considering that if the search results are bad, it's easy to switch to another search engine (I regularly use DuckDuckGo myself these days), I'm really curious as to what the harm here is. It sounds like we may find out soon.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    bob?

    Big Search is calling.

     

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    Mark Gisleson (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    Given the Microsoft precedent

    I don't think the FTC gets to call anyone a monopolist, ever.

    If what Microsoft did was legal, it is not possible to break this law.

     

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    Daid, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:43pm

    Winning a court case might be Google's best option to put this whole antitrust nonsense to bed once and for all. As you say if the ranking of search results is the linchpin here, Google would be the favorites to win.

     

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    The truth, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:44pm

    Yep

    Google has been making sure anti apple news is kept on the front of the aapl stock when you search aapl for quite some time. They show links and its apple is bad for this and that. Very anti competitive. Google controls the Internet news and they know it.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

    I knew it. Mike is a Big Search apologist.

    Tell us Mike, how much does DuckDuckGo pay you to shill for them? Just answer the simple question!!

     

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  6.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

    Re:

    I am staying 10 min away from work, and I bet before I get there, boB will have had several posts by then... Or the orderlies have been diligent holding him down so the nurses can give him his meds.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Re:

    [Golf clap] Very nicely done.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:52pm

    If google is Anti-Trust then what is Apple of all things ?
    Apple = Proprietary locked in Made In China
    Google = On Many types of Computers Not locked in and Not Made in China

    And what is Microsoft ?

     

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    JLishere (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Yep

    Sure. Google hand-edited news results across the web just to show negative press about APPL. Sure.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Given the Microsoft precedent

    If what Microsoft did was legal, it is not possible to break this law.


    Fwiw, Microsoft was found GUILTY of antitrust violations... but then the gov't (new administration) more or less decided not to punish it.

     

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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 3:03pm

    I think bob just got an erection...the first in years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 3:09pm

    Re:

    Please don't go there.

    It's bad enough with a troll wagging his finger at Big Search.

    It's worse when he starts wagging....er....never mind.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 3:11pm

    It could be that someone has been whispering in the FTC's ear

    I wouldn't put it past $M (and APPL) to be telling the ftc weenies that all they're whoas are caused by the big evil G corp.

    Of course the fact that Google got so big because they did search right instead of filtering out the un_paid_for results. Other search engines (but not bing) are figuring this out, and now there is competition. So the FTC must think that this is the right time to slap em down.

     

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    anti-boB, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Ewwwwwwww.

     

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 3:35pm

    I suppose the point is that there is nothing illegal about monopoly. It's using the monopoly illegally that's illegal. Like BitTorrent ...

     

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    MrWilson, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Yep

    You don't need to manipulate results to make sure people see negative news about Apple.

    I just searched the news on Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and Google. All of the first pages had negative news about Apple. Are Microsoft, Yahoo, and Ask in on this conspiracy of yours or do you think maybe news gets reported and the search engines provide the results that are deemed relevant to that search.

    If you didn't see negative news about Apple upon a search, there'd be some serious questions about a bias in favor of Apple.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 4:08pm

    Re: It could be that someone has been whispering in the FTC's ear

    Why do so many people think the Appell Petroleum Corp is behind this? Would it make more sense if it was Apple?

     

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    Scott, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 4:24pm

    Then why can't FTC break up the big media and telcos?

     

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    Designerfx (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 5:01pm

    duckduckgo?

    You use Bing, Mike? Because that's what duckduckgo uses.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 5:23pm

    Re:

    Then why can't FTC break up the big media and telcos?

    Have you sent the FTC a complaint lately?

     

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  21.  
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    MahaliaShere (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 5:28pm

    Everybody Hates Google

    Should be a tv show. "You're hurting your rivals, Goog!"

    Perhaps the FTC Commissioners would like to tell me which email service I can use with my email-only domain, that will allow me to use as many aliases as I need, with all of the features of Gmail, and POP/IMAP without paying any dollar amount.

    Oh wait, this is only about searches, right?

     

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  22.  
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    Andy (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 5:29pm

    The utimate monpoly: Apple

    Please... a system of technology that ONLY lets you work within the walled garden of Apple goodness - the company that invents crappy proprietary connectors simply to inconvenience their existing customers- requiring them to buy a cable that can only be bought from Apple - at least until other companies come up with the extortion.. er, sorry - the 'licensing fee' to use Apple's fricking plug? USB 3.0 not good enough for them? The company with the balls to outright steal an innovative UI (from Xerox) then SUE the companies that LICENSED the same technology. Ya.. Apple is a corporate citizen. How about coming thru on the wonderful mr jobs promise to let facetime connect to the rest of the world? Gimme a break.. I'll NEVER again own Apple products if they are te last in the world.

     

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    average_joe, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 5:34pm

    This is nonsense. Everybody knows that Google is Masnick's employer.

    Blargha flargha!

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 5:43pm

    Hitler did a lot of good things at first... Then went mono-maniacal.

    Man, it's just about impossible to convince you kids who've grown up in the happy times AFTER monopolies were busted up (and that legacy continues even today). You look at TAMED CAPITALISM and think it'd be even better if corporations were let run wild!

    Well, IF you'd been born a hundred years ago and were actually subject to "pure" capitalism, you'd think it worse than communism: 70 hour work weeks, no health care, bosses using you up like animals. Full-blown capitalism is economic tyranny, the surrounding culture making it variously worse and better than other "systems", but just another form of plutocracy, and as cruel as they can get away with. -- You need to separate productive creators like Henry Ford and even Rockefeller from those who are simply born Rich and never trade values with the rest.

    Listen, it's simple as The People must prevent ANY and all institutions from getting too big or they go insane and try to take over everything. That's just sheer fact, easily observable through all of history.

    Now, just suppose that Google did gain a monopoly on search. At what point will you call for it to be regulated, Mike? Never, I suspect, because you were born to be a technocrat of the ruling class, have no experience outside the 1% privileged view, went to Ivy League college with the current generation of Washington lobbbyists (Cornell is apparently tops at that), and in every way, feel yourself above the herd and that you're born to rule. So you just simply cannot see that BIG IS BAD.

    Capitalism NEEDS a ferment of competition to keep it working right, otherwise it'd stagnate. We must keep ANY corporation from ever gaining actual monopoly, because corporations aren't actually interested in progress, only in profits. -- So regulate the hell out of Google, and not just a pretend regulation without teeth, but get in there and find out what they're doing with all the tracking that they do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 6:03pm

    If Google is Antitrust then just about every other company must be. There's nothing forcing me to stick with Google. The telecos are far more Antitrust than Google could ever be.

     

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    Spencer (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 6:09pm

    So, let me get this straight. The FTC is accusing Google of hurting it's rivals, when capitalism is about hurting your rivals.

    And even assuming they are correct in their claims, what is the FTC doing about apple, who buys materials from suppliers who's employees are jumping off the roof of their factories because of working conditions.

    Where is the FTC action against Telcos and wireless providers who are price gouging customers through agreements to artificially keep prices high because there is no real competition?

    And what of the "too big to fail" banks? Where is the FTC there? Oh, wait, that's right. We're propping those guys up. Forgot about that.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 6:30pm

    Re:

    "So, let me get this straight. The FTC is accusing Google of hurting it's rivals, when capitalism is about hurting your rivals."

    Capitalism isn't about gaining a near monopoly position, and then using that position to wipe your competitors out.

    Recent updates to the way Google ranks pages means that any site that provides mostly links, mostly reviews, or is a guide of any sort suffers in the rankings. This comes on top of all the other moves made in the past year or so to hurt "answer" sites, and so on.

    When was the last time you saw another search engine rank high on Google? It doesn't happen, even if they have some of the best results or relevant links on their search results. Google doesn't index it.

    Google's main over all plan is to get in the middle of every transaction, to sell ads while doing it, and make money. Their sideline to that is eliminating or putting down any competition that can take away from that goal.

    I am guessing that there is already triggers between "site has adwords" and SERPs, and conversely, a site that loses adwords (banned) may also drop in the SERPs. That seems pretty self explanitory as well.

    Basically, Google's goals of "the best SERPs" and "the most ads" don't meet, and since only one of them makes money, the SERPs are generally and gently manipulated to make sure the money side works out.

     

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    technomage (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 7:11pm

    "Capitalism isn't about gaining a near monopoly position, and then using that position to wipe your competitors out."

    Still trying to find how google is wiping out bing, yahoo, baidu, and the other 50 dozen or so spiders that crawl my sites.

    "When was the last time you saw another search engine rank high on Google? It doesn't happen, even if they have some of the best results or relevant links on their search results. Google doesn't index it."

    Beg to differ here, as google routinely indexes other search engines, especially if they are more relevant to the source. Looking for items in Japanese, or Russian, I'm usually sent to search engines based in that locale, and not google.ru or google.jp

    "Google's main over all plan is to get in the middle of every transaction, to sell ads while doing it, and make money. Their sideline to that is eliminating or putting down any competition that can take away from that goal."

    Advertisers main overall plan is to get in the middle of every show, whine when you skip over them, and make money by outbidding their competition. FTFY

    I believe this smells like the same old crap from OOTB's 100 year old monopolies that just got renamed for modern times. Ma Bell and all her 100 or so children is alive and well, separate bank accounts or not, I am sure that money is like a game of round robin, and shows up in the pocket of whoever needs it. The dinosaurs can't compete, they won't dip into their fat incentive packages to develop, and instead whine about how google has gotten too big.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 7:45pm

    Re:

    Big Search is calling? I'll bet they're calling Mike to let him know his shill retainer will be reduced if he doesn't mobilize his FUD-packers.

     

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  30.  
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    Gary, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re:

    I reread the article the part about Google promoting other search engines i looked and in less than found links to over 15 search engines so .......bullshit

     

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    gary, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 8:05pm

    Re: Re:

    Maybe you just need to type in your request I found over 15 search engines just by asking.....doh

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 8:38pm

    Re: Hitler did a lot of good things at first... Then went mono-maniacal.

    I think it's about time you returned. The nice men will be coming to bring you back.

     

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    Wally (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 9:01pm

    Anti Trust

    Google's antitrust violation is due in part because Motorola Mobility is suing Google's rivals over video codec standard H.264 and tried to get the XBox360 banned from import to the US because it had several wireless technologies held in the wireless controllers.

    They sued Apple for the same exact reason of "not paying royalties" on video codec H.264

    It is a legitimate anti-trust investigation as no other companies are being charged as much as Apple and Microsoft for Industry-wide RAND patents.

    Google bought Motorola Mobility and therefore must assume responsibility to that subsidiarie's actions.

     

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    JMT (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 9:50pm

    Re: The utimate monpoly: Apple

    That is not the definition of a monopoly, not even close. There is nothing that Apple provides that you can't get elsewhere. You've proven that yourself by claiming you'll never own Apple products. Do you have a computer? Smart phone? MP3 player?

     

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    JMT (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 10:23pm

    Re:

    "...what is the FTC doing about apple, who buys materials from suppliers who's employees are jumping off the roof of their factories because of working conditions."

    While I don't defend Foxconn's working conditions for a second, it's worth noting that the suicide rate at their factory's is quite a bit lower than China's average rate. The whole suicide thing made a great media story, but it needs to be kept in perspective.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2012 @ 11:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Gary, you can find the search engines if you search FOR the specific search engines. But if I search for "best hot dog in new york" I won't get a SERP with the Bing search for this term, will I? There are many search sites that are either more narrow focus, or listing / linking / review sites that are specifically better than Google, but Google no longer wants to give them any listings in relevant search terms, except their own names. It's a real problem because these sites often have better listings than Google, which would make them much more relevant to my search. Google doesn't want me to know about them.

    It's called killing the competition. Google search has the majority of the traffic, and if Google says you are dead, you are effectively dead to 60-80% of the market, depending on what you do.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 12th, 2012 @ 11:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But if I search for "best hot dog in new york" I won't get a SERP with the Bing search for this term, will I?

    If you're searching on Google why would you want a Bing search?

    There are many search sites that are either more narrow focus, or listing / linking / review sites that are specifically better than Google, but Google no longer wants to give them any listings in relevant search terms, except their own names.

    I did a search on "best hot dog in New York" on Google -- exactly the term you used. And I see pretty much all listing / linking / review sites that are specifically better than Google. There's CBSLocal, there's NYC10best, there's Yelp (one of the main complainants against Google), there's Citysearch.

    So, um. What's the issue?

    It's called killing the competition. Google search has the majority of the traffic, and if Google says you are dead, you are effectively dead to 60-80% of the market, depending on what you do.

    So which better search engine has died at the hands of Google? And, more importantly, how did that death harm consumers? Do tell.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Oct 13th, 2012 @ 1:53am

    Re: Hitler did a lot of good things at first... Then went mono-maniacal.

    See, that last apragraph actually makes sense.

    So why, might I ask is there usually a duopoly or a monopoly on telecoms in the US for fixed-node lines?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 2:21am

    Re: Re: Hitler did a lot of good things at first... Then went mono-maniacal.

    Cause regulating a company that is 100% dependent on another companys work, who is 100% dependent on another companys work is extremely hard to do.

    The entanglement between the physical cables, the allocation of bandwidth and the sellers of the bandwidth (telcos) is very complex to solve through laws and eventually it is one of the biggest reasons for the lack of competition. Some would say, let them conglamorate and let the conglamorations compete, but getting several cables of the same type in the ground is making mapping and digging a nightmare for any city. In the end, the complexity and uncertainty when relying so heavily on another company is scary and the likeliness of you making real money on it is low.

     

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    Mr. Oizo, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 2:59am

    You act as if search is the only thing google does, but it isn't. Maybe there are antitrust violations at other fronts ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 4:20am

    Re: Given the Microsoft precedent

    Sure someone can break the law. The law is so hopelessly vague that anybody could be breaking it. It is all a matter of whether the FTC is motivated enough to prosecute. That motivation can be supplied by an external party paying money. Guess who?

    This is your standard Google hate from the usual suspects for the usual reasons.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 6:04am

    WHAT HARM? Simple: Google has too much POWER.

    I continue next day after it occurring to me that Mike is using a lawyering trick and substituting in a package deal of false premises: his wrong position is simple while a good answer is necessarily complex. But through the magic of linking, I'll just refer to here later so my effort isn't wasted though this thread is surely over.

    It's indeed difficult to answer "what's the harm?" A college education should have provided Mike with historical context of WHY corporations must be regulated, that entities without souls and conscience MUST be closely watched, yet having been born into the 1% Ivy League class of corporate-owners, his view is totally biased in favor of corporations. So, like a child, Mike blithely asks a quite complex question. -- And won't listen to the answer! It's clear he thinks there is no harm, especially not with his dear Google.

    So, Mike, equally simple question tough to answer: where's the harm in regulating Google? If not doing anything wrong, what's to fear? -- You SHOULD be able to easily answer what Google does with the data, and where Google's income is from, before you so blithely suggest there's no harm. Where's your positive data up front, Mike? But of course you won't attempt it, because ANY investigation of Google is counter to your purpose, can only increase worries.

    But WE The People don't need to show harm up front, Mike! Corporations DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS! I don't care what our servants on the Supreme Court say, they're wrong, been bought, and are lawyers too, famously unable to see morality, always searching for hair-splitting excuses to impose tyranny.

    The People have let corporations and "Public Servants" become our masters, and we are regretting it more every day as corporatized surveillance clamps down. -- But doesn't have to continue if we reject your wimpy "what's the harm?" and make them get back in their box. -- A major problem in the world today is that so many just blindly accept that legal fictions called corporations can do anything they wish if okayed by a few lawyers whom the corporations own. Those inherently evil NON-persons are now dictating terms TO The People.

    But even LAWYERS are permitted to operate only under certain conditions because inherently dangers to society! True, it's a monopoly that lawyers wish (to better skim money and exert power), but the actual basis for licensing lawyers is compelling given the harm that they can do.

    Corporations are permitted to exist for ECONOMIC purposes that society finds useful. The secret of corporatism is right out in the open with "LLC": LIMITED LIABILITY. That means a corporation can lie, cheat, steal, torture, murder, and make a profit selling the bodies of its victims as pet food, and the ONLY sanction that can normally be imposed is loss of the money invested! It's so much easier to make profits without morality and conscience, or being held to account for actions as a "natural" person is. That's WHY corporations exist today: not to pool money but to escape personal responsibility FOR CRIMES.

    As the banker bailout of 2008 under Bush showed, corporations are now to the point where they force The People to pay back when wild "investments" fail, or if their bets pay off, then banks keep all the profits. It's win-win because they control the gov't and just take what they want out of taxes. -- So, Mike, where's the harm in letting banks get into real estate? Well, in practical terms, $700 billion plus trillions more, variously. -- Until the recent repeal of a law, banks in real estate was illegal (such speculation was part cause of the Great Depression), and now we've had to repeat history because ignorant little Ivy League "economists" have been indoctrinated to recognize nothing but corporate profits, and cheer on skimming and grifting instead of good solid production. The Rich and their corporate fronts ALWAYS turn to financial speculation when allowed to. It's certain, because potential "profits" are far beyond what one can gain by making products and trading value for value, and they don't care if they wreck society. -- And they ALWAYS try to re-coup losses from the public treasury because "too big to fail".

    History is replete with reasons why corporations and lawyers and gov'ts MUST ALL BE LIMITED. Power is power, and a general danger to The People, even if nominally "economic" and "private". -- Everyone knows this. Just look at opinion noted right here this week: the article with 19,000 to ZERO against some sort of spying. People don't wish to be spied on, Mike. Google is the biggest spy agency ever even if you believe it to be entirely commercial. But Google can sell that data to the gov't, down to individual data, when it's technically illegal for the gov't to gather such data itself: they've just privatized spying. Is there any doubt that gov't WILL buy and use such data? Not to "fight terrorism", either, but simply to spy on and control The People.

    Mike, you're just a tricky fool to believe there's "no harm" or that it has to be proven up front. Anyone at all educated knows how the world works, and WHY "capitalism" has to be tightly regulated or it becomes economic tyranny. -- And gov't is always interested in increase of tyranny, is just doing an end-run around the Constitution with its proxy spy agency, Google.

     

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    Wally (profile), Oct 13th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Google has a certification program for adevertising local businesses. The more you pay for ORM, the higher up on the search list you get. My home town has such a program, but it becomes unfair when one company can stay at the top of the list.

    It used to be that you had to have many referential links to get higher on the search list because that's how their webcrawler spider network ran. Now they can change the algorithm to suit the highest bidder, which in turn lowers the credibility of the search.

     

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    Wally (profile), Oct 13th, 2012 @ 7:45am

    Re:

    I'll admit that Apple and Microsoft had done things. I'm not sure about the validity of the Anti-Trust case against Microsoft because that was in a day when Netscape was a fierce competitor with their browser. Microsoft got sued because they included their own browser in the OS and Netscape thought it unfair that Microsoft did that. Funny thing is, Windows Explorer and Internet explorer act the same, but are not the same thing at all. The judge in the original filing did not understand the difference.

    Netscape was a huge patent troll in the mid-1990's.

    Apple at that time usually asked or acquired liscensed technologies that others overlooked until it was too late. Apple was the first company to integrate USB devices into our daily computing schedule.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: The utimate monpoly: Apple

    > There is nothing that Apple provides that you can't get elsewhere.

    Sorry but that's just not the legal definition of a monopoly.

    You don't get to redefine terms just to suit your particular Brand fixation.

    > Do you have a computer? Smart phone? MP3 player?

    Apple is doing it's best to prevent me from using the smart phone of my choice actually. They also try to tie me to their products permanently if I ever use their product. They are openly hostile to anything that would weaken the network effects they seek to create.

    This is in stark contrast to something like Google that I can switch away from at the drop of the hat.

    If anything in tech represents a commodity component, then it's Google.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    WC, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 9:53am

    Re: Anti Trust

    Bullshit. Apple choose to go nuclear and as such Google is responding to the threat.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Yep

    Yahoo and Bing are the same. Ask is a joke.

    All of them scrape Google.

     

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  48.  
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    Mark Gisleson (profile), Oct 13th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Given the Microsoft precedent

    I'm bad on this topic. I used to use other search engines just to go against the grain, but Google won me over. Of all the major players online, I cannot think of anyone else who's been more useful to me, especially not for free.

    It would break my heart to learn that Google's as bad as the rest of them.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    Nobody is ever accused of pro-trust violations...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Oct 13th, 2012 @ 12:28pm

    Re: WHAT HARM? Simple: Google has too much POWER.

    Why do I need government regulation when I can just type in Bing.com and use that as my search engine? Chrome lists Bing.com as a search engine - and you can even make it the default search engine. How evil of Google.

     

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  51.  
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    R.H. (profile), Oct 13th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: It could be that someone has been whispering in the FTC's ear

    It may help a bit if you note that Apple Inc.'s ticker symbol is AAPL on NASDAQ.

     

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  52.  
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    JMT (profile), Oct 13th, 2012 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: The utimate monpoly: Apple

    "Sorry but that's just not the legal definition of a monopoly."

    So explain to us how the legal definition of a monopoly applies to Apple.

    "Apple is doing it's best to prevent me from using the smart phone of my choice actually."

    And yet you can still quite easily go and buy a smart phone from a range of different manufacturers. That's a very ineffectual 'monopoly' they've got.

    "They also try to tie me to their products permanently if I ever use their product."

    Apart from that assertion being laughingly false, you just said you'd never use their products, so how could you ever be tied to them?

     

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  53.  
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    nasch (profile), Oct 13th, 2012 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: It could be that someone has been whispering in the FTC's ear

    Whoosh!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "So which better search engine has died at the hands of Google? And, more importantly, how did that death harm consumers? Do tell."

    Search engines generally come and go, because over time their results become less relevant as people figure out the ranking methods and fill the sites up with spam. I will say that Yahoo / Bing generally had better results than Google, at least at this point, because people tend not to optimize specifically for them, so the results are more natural.

    Now, for "best hot dog in New York", lets look at the results, shall we?

    The first thing I get (no quotes, and a space between hot and dog) is 6 new york listings. Remarkably, 2 of the 6 are Google Plus accounts. HMM! Don't think that these guys might also have facebook pages? Nevermind!

    CBS local is next - using Google APIs, google fonts, google analytics, google webmaster tools, etc. Nice!

    Gothamist? Google ads, google maps...

    nymag? Google ads, google analytics, Google APIs

    NYC 10 Best? Google ads, google analytics

    Yelp? Google ads, google analytics, google pubs, Google apid

    Seriousseats? Google ads, google analytics

    Are you starting to see a pattern here Mike? Or are you blind to reality?

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2012 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Further, to support this, consider this quote from Wired (you know, your buddy's magazine):

    As with Microsoft, the Google investigation has poked into virtually every part of Google’s business. The gist is that as Google has expanded beyond its core search business, into things like online shopping and smartphones, it is using its muscle to favor Google products over competitors. So rather than showing results from say, another shopping engine or restaurant recommendation service, it favors Google’s own versions of those products. In the mobile world, the FTC is looking at whether handset makers have the freedom to pick and choose the Google products they want if they choose to use Google’s free Android mobile operating system.

    Basically, Google can use it's position of dominance in search to greatly influence who gets traffic and who does not, in a manner that supports Google's own businesses.

    In Android, the Google search is hard coded all over the place - there is no way on an android phone to easily replace the Google search with anything else. You can do it, but it's work that most people will not do.

    As a result, all the mobile users search with Google, which in turn leads them to results that lean towards Google properties and sites which make Google money...

    I think you can see how this works.

    So Mike, are you willing to take the time to critically look at your overlords business practices with the same attitude that you look at the music and movie industries?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
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    Wally (profile), Oct 13th, 2012 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Anti Trust

    I see what you're saying, but you don't quite understand that nobody wins in Global Thermonuclear War. Google, instead of doing R&D and settling like Apple mostly does (A certain watch design comes to mind), decided to do the same thing Microsof was once accused of and bought out a subsidiary to gain patents. Said patents come from Motorola Mobility.

     

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  57.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Oct 14th, 2012 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You were doing well right until the last sentences in both posts, but at that point you pretty much tanked any possibility to take your argument seriously.

    A tip for future posts: it doesn't matter how much evidence you present, it doesn't matter how well reasoned your argument is, as soon as you start pulling out the ad homs, personal attacks, and/or condescending remarks, you've pretty much shot yourself in the foot, as you've demonstrated quite clearly you're not looking for a discussion, only an argument.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re: WHAT HARM? Simple: Google has too much POWER.

    ootb advocating for corporate regulation?

    Sounds good. Let's start with the RIAA, shall we?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2012 @ 6:35pm

    Re: WHAT HARM? Simple: Google has too much POWER.

    My new idea here... Every time guys like RD and his ilk try to use the report button to shout someone down, I will repost their comments in the clear. Report my post, and I will do it again.

    I continue next day after it occurring to me that Mike is using a lawyering trick and substituting in a package deal of false premises: his wrong position is simple while a good answer is necessarily complex. But through the magic of linking, I'll just refer to here later so my effort isn't wasted though this thread is surely over.

    It's indeed difficult to answer "what's the harm?" A college education should have provided Mike with historical context of WHY corporations must be regulated, that entities without souls and conscience MUST be closely watched, yet having been born into the 1% Ivy League class of corporate-owners, his view is totally biased in favor of corporations. So, like a child, Mike blithely asks a quite complex question. -- And won't listen to the answer! It's clear he thinks there is no harm, especially not with his dear Google.

    So, Mike, equally simple question tough to answer: where's the harm in regulating Google? If not doing anything wrong, what's to fear? -- You SHOULD be able to easily answer what Google does with the data, and where Google's income is from, before you so blithely suggest there's no harm. Where's your positive data up front, Mike? But of course you won't attempt it, because ANY investigation of Google is counter to your purpose, can only increase worries.

    But WE The People don't need to show harm up front, Mike! Corporations DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS! I don't care what our servants on the Supreme Court say, they're wrong, been bought, and are lawyers too, famously unable to see morality, always searching for hair-splitting excuses to impose tyranny.

    The People have let corporations and "Public Servants" become our masters, and we are regretting it more every day as corporatized surveillance clamps down. -- But doesn't have to continue if we reject your wimpy "what's the harm?" and make them get back in their box. -- A major problem in the world today is that so many just blindly accept that legal fictions called corporations can do anything they wish if okayed by a few lawyers whom the corporations own. Those inherently evil NON-persons are now dictating terms TO The People.

    But even LAWYERS are permitted to operate only under certain conditions because inherently dangers to society! True, it's a monopoly that lawyers wish (to better skim money and exert power), but the actual basis for licensing lawyers is compelling given the harm that they can do.

    Corporations are permitted to exist for ECONOMIC purposes that society finds useful. The secret of corporatism is right out in the open with "LLC": LIMITED LIABILITY. That means a corporation can lie, cheat, steal, torture, murder, and make a profit selling the bodies of its victims as pet food, and the ONLY sanction that can normally be imposed is loss of the money invested! It's so much easier to make profits without morality and conscience, or being held to account for actions as a "natural" person is. That's WHY corporations exist today: not to pool money but to escape personal responsibility FOR CRIMES.

    As the banker bailout of 2008 under Bush showed, corporations are now to the point where they force The People to pay back when wild "investments" fail, or if their bets pay off, then banks keep all the profits. It's win-win because they control the gov't and just take what they want out of taxes. -- So, Mike, where's the harm in letting banks get into real estate? Well, in practical terms, $700 billion plus trillions more, variously. -- Until the recent repeal of a law, banks in real estate was illegal (such speculation was part cause of the Great Depression), and now we've had to repeat history because ignorant little Ivy League "economists" have been indoctrinated to recognize nothing but corporate profits, and cheer on skimming and grifting instead of good solid production. The Rich and their corporate fronts ALWAYS turn to financial speculation when allowed to. It's certain, because potential "profits" are far beyond what one can gain by making products and trading value for value, and they don't care if they wreck society. -- And they ALWAYS try to re-coup losses from the public treasury because "too big to fail".

    History is replete with reasons why corporations and lawyers and gov'ts MUST ALL BE LIMITED. Power is power, and a general danger to The People, even if nominally "economic" and "private". -- Everyone knows this. Just look at opinion noted right here this week: the article with 19,000 to ZERO against some sort of spying. People don't wish to be spied on, Mike. Google is the biggest spy agency ever even if you believe it to be entirely commercial. But Google can sell that data to the gov't, down to individual data, when it's technically illegal for the gov't to gather such data itself: they've just privatized spying. Is there any doubt that gov't WILL buy and use such data? Not to "fight terrorism", either, but simply to spy on and control The People.

    Mike, you're just a tricky fool to believe there's "no harm" or that it has to be proven up front. Anyone at all educated knows how the world works, and WHY "capitalism" has to be tightly regulated or it becomes economic tyranny. -- And gov't is always interested in increase of tyranny, is just doing an end-run around the Constitution with its proxy spy agency, Google.


    There. You can't stop free speech, didn't you learn anything?

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 12:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Take it however you like. My question stands: Why is Mike seemingly willfully blind to what Google is up to? It seems that someone who is so good at business models would at least grasp the basics. I am hoping that Mike would cast as critical an eye here as he does with the **AAs, it might actually be entertaining to see how he handles it.

    His avoidance of the subject sort of strengthens and lends credence to assertions that he is well connected to Google.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 6:39am

    Re: Hitler did a lot of good things at first... Then went mono-maniacal.

    When we take copyright out of the subject you actually manage to make intelligent remarks. Interesting!

    Could have done better without the personal attacks.

    Google has taken some anti-competitive stances at points yes like many other companies do and yet we don't see them getting investigated, much less punished. And this behavior is actually the exception for Google for now so the point of the article actually stands, why are they after Google? In the end it might be a good move to make Google re-think some of its practices but I suspect in the end there will be no conviction.

     

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  62.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The fact that they use Google services means that Google offers good services for fair prices. Nothing more, nothing less. And the fact that Yelp, one of the complainants, is using Google services is rather telling.

    I'm not sure what your point is, could you please explain?

     

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  63.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In Android, the Google search is hard coded all over the place - there is no way on an android phone to easily replace the Google search with anything else. You can do it, but it's work that most people will not do.

    You can do it. If you don't want to use Google you will change it and that's a pretty important point: Google lets you change it. Actually, most of the times it's the manufacturer that locks in bloatware you don't want.

    I don't really think Google boosts their advertisers though. They do boost things based on my profile and my search habits, something which I don't like or approve (I turned off what was possible and I use it logged off or an alternative search engine when I need). They do have sponsored results but they are clearly marked as sponsored results.

    I just did a quick search on the term Google and the first result is news of the antitrust process. Not particularly positive for Google itself, is it? Then it's followed by the services Google offers. Then I searched for Bing. No negative news, lists bing services, including the ones that compete directly with Google. Then I searched for Microsoft. NOT A SINGLE BAD NEWS on the first pages other than the same article about Google antitrust thing. Then I went for DuckDuckGo it actually lists the website first, then some Youtube adverts then GOOD NEWS for the site as one of the top 50 best websites of 2011.

    So yet again there are alternatives and Google is not doing anything against them besides being a better search engine (that's debatable) and offering awesome services besides search (that's a fact).

     

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  64.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: WHAT HARM? Simple: Google has too much POWER.

    Marked funny ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Mike is right.

    Google hasn't violated any anti-trust laws. It's simply the biggest and most famous search engine, and arguably the most effective. There's plenty of competition (Microsoft's Bing) that has a sizeable user base. If Google's going to get a monopoly on anything in the next 20 years, it'll be autonomous vehicles, and that'll be through an excessive number of patents.

     

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  66.  
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    Slightly Confused (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: WHAT HARM? Simple: Google has too much POWER.

    You apparently think that free speech has something to do with Techdirt. It's sort of cute. It is not stopping free speech for a community to downvote/report/etc a comment on a private website. Said private website is under no obligation to provide any forum for commentary at all and if they do then they are welcome to police and or/restrict it any way they choose to see fit. Techdirt allows the user community to regulate some of the comments through a voting system. Some people's comments get voted in to oblivion. Of course, according to Techdirt's policies you are then free to repost said comments and even free to incorrectly claim that it has something to do with free speech! The rest of us are free to giggle at you for even mentioning free speech in regards to user comments on a privately owned website and click the report button on your reposting of the original comment.

     

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  67.  
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    nasch (profile), Oct 15th, 2012 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    His point is that most of the top results are sites where Google benefits if people go there. That by itself is not conclusive, but it's interesting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2012 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You can do it. If you don't want to use Google you will change it and that's a pretty important point: Google lets you change it. Actually, most of the times it's the manufacturer that locks in bloatware you don't want."

    The search is default to Google, and changing it requires more digging around and technical understanding than most people would be bothered to do. It's easier to just accept google, or the more complicated using the browser to bypass them.

    "I just did a quick search on the term Google and the first result is news of the antitrust process."

    I doubt that very many people go to Google search and search for google. Why even mention it, unless you are trying to add a red herring to the discussion?

    I will say that your entire process is pretty misleading. The fact that you can specifically search for the name of a search engine and get the site isn't really relevant. The point is that even if Bing or DDG has relevant results, they will not generally get listed in the Google search for those terms, even if they are great resources for these things.

    "So yet again there are alternatives and Google is not doing anything against them besides being a better search engine (that's debatable) and offering awesome services besides search (that's a fact)."

    There are alternatives, but it's the same transparent argument that Microsoft used about IE in Windows. Packaging the browser and forcing it's use as part of the OS was a cheeky bit way to use their near monopoly in the OS field to not so gently force people to use their browser.

    Microsoft sort of tried the same argument in operating systems, saying there were alternatives. Still to this day, outside of Apple's in house OS, there are few good valid options that are widely used. Yeah, I know, unix and linux variants are out there, but it's rare to find any normal end user with them alone. Microsoft dominates massively, no matter how many other good choices there are. Using that position to drive people to use other Microsoft products by default is a real issue.

    Remember, Netscape disappeared in part because IE was given away for free and wiped them out.

     

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  69.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Oct 16th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: WHAT HARM? Simple: Google has too much POWER.

    "My new idea here... Every time guys like RD and his ilk try to use the report button to shout someone down, I will repost their comments in the clear. Report my post, and I will do it again."

    That's OK, by the third time, the spam filter will catch on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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