FTC Investigation Focuses on Android, Preferential Placement, Demoting Competitors
Six weeks after Google confirmed that the FTC is investigating its business practices, the Wall Street Journal reports that the investigation will extend to Google’s Android mobile operating system and other search related services. According to the report, FTC antitrust officials have been asking:
- “Whether Google prevents smartphone manufacturers that use its Android operating system from using competitors’ services;” (Treating its partners unfairly? Sounds a lot like Searchville’s Club Droid.)
- “Whether Google grants preferential placement on its website to its own products, such as Google’s “Places” business listings, its “Shopping results” or Google Finance services above most other results;” (Artificially placing its own results above competitors? The old Google Ham move); and about
- “Allegations that Google unfairly takes information collected by rivals, such as reviews of local businesses, to use on its own specialized site and then demotes the rivals’ services in its search results.” (Scraping competitors’ content and penalizing the creators? Like a fresh-squeezed glass of Google Lemonade!)
In fact, the FTC’s investigation seems to highlight much of what’s going on in Searchville.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Searchville it is that it deserves a very close look because there is a lot going on behind the scenes.
At FairSearch, we think Internet users, consumers and businesses alike, deserve more transparency and fairness from Google. That’s why we’re so encouraged that law enforcement officials in the Attorneys General offices in Texas, Ohio, New York and California, as well as antitrust enforcers at the FTC and the European Commission are investigating Google’s conduct more closely.