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Google's Acquisitions of Competitive Threats Deprive Consumers of Innovation and Choice

Google has purchased a series of companies that eliminated nascent threats to its search dominance.

Mobile: Understanding the potential for growth in mobile search, (i.e., that the number of mobile internet users will surpass the number of users browsing the internet via a desktop computer by 2014), Google bought the Android technology in 2005. According to some, Google is “not trying to make a profit on Android or Chrome…In essence [by giving Android away for free], they are not just building a moat; Google is also scorching the earth for 250 miles around the outside of the castle to ensure no one can approach it.”

Video: In October 2006, YouTube attracted more search traffic than anyone other than Google itself. Google bought YouTube, the world’s largest video search engine, for $1.5 billion. YouTube performs more searches than Yahoo! and by some measures, is the second largest search engine. Through this acquisition, Google captures more than 83% of unique viewers among top U.S. online video properties.

Travel: According to Bloomberg, “In mid-2010, Google got serious about travel. Given that over half of travel sales are consummated online, Google wasted no time with DIY solutions. It went shopping and bid $700 million in cash to buy ITA Software, a Cambridge (Mass.)-based travel software company that was founded in 1996 by scientists at MIT to provide search services for airlines and other travel operators.” That’s why, the Department of Justice stepped in and challenged Google’s acquisition of ITA Software and limited Google’s ability to abuse its control over this key technology for travel search.