Bloomberg: FTC Commissioner Supports Review of Search Competition
Thomas Rosch, a Republican member of the Federal Trade Commission, voiced support for “an examination into whether there is fair competition among Internet search companies, a field dominated by Google Inc,” Bloomberg reports this morning. Rosch said “it’s important that no single company uses its power to thwart competition.” The FTC could use Section 5 of the law that established the agency to challenge “unfair or deceptive” practices by Google, Rosch told Bloomberg.
He explained that “[t]he big danger is that you are going to have markets that have basically tipped so that they are in command of these monopolists or near monopolists.” Rosch commented that he wasn’t “afraid to take a look” at Google’s role in online search.
Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich told Bloomberg via email that “[c]onsumers always have the ability to choose, and they vote with their clicks” – only they don’t really have a choice if Google abuses its dominance through unfair or deceptive practices to steer users to its own services and away from competing ones. That’s a key reason why FairSearch is urging the DOJ to challenge Google’s proposed acquisition of ITA Software, which would strengthen Google’s hand in tilting the travel market toward its own product over ITA customers and other competitors in online travel.
In a world where Google (which has called itself the ‘kingmaker’ of the Internet) controls more than 68% of online searches, it can be hard to stand up and fight for fair search. But consumers deserve real choice and transparency in search and the innovation that can only come in a competitive market.