Google was hoping that the announcement of Apple’s iAd program would help with approval of the AdMob acquisition at the FTC. However that doesn’t seem to be the case; Bloomberg reported on Friday that the FTC seemed poised to try and block the deal: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission staff is urging the filing of an antitrust suit challenging Google Inc.’s $750 million acquisition of AdMob Inc., according to three people familiar with the matter. It will be up to the five-member commission to decide whether to follow the staff’s advice or approve the deal. The people familiar with the matter spoke on condition of anonymity. Peter Kaplan, an FTC spokesman, declined to comment. The FTC staff signaled last month it was leaning toward urging a court challenge when it was disclosed the agency was seeking sworn declarations from Google’s competitors and advertisers. Google PR has been periodically sending bloggers and analysts material critical of that … [Read more...] about The FTC, Google, Apple & United Airlines
The federal acquisition regulation
It’s been a little while since we’ve done a Search Biz column. So it’s time to dust off the old snark machine and get right into it. First up there’s a very entertaining post on some new, unsealed records from the YouTube-Viacom litigation featuring a range of colorful expletives as both sides insult one another relentlessly. Here’s a select excerpt: Viacom complains that YouTube employees “sneered at rights holders as ‘copyright bastards’ and ‘a-holes.'” Google retorts that Viacom can’t complain about this language, and it quotes numerous Viacom execs to make its point. Sample outbursts include, “fuck you, you Google bastards,” “bastards at Google are harassing me,” and the eloquent “fuck those mother fuckers.” PaidContent has more from the unsealed documents and points to email showing how badly Viacom wanted to own YouTube: MTVN CEO Judy McGrath telling M&A execs: “Help … [Read more...] about Google Vs. Viacom, Pakistan Vs. Facebook, Google Vs. US, Apple Vs. Google & The Russians Are Coming!
Microsoft has long and openly been involved in opposing some of Google’s high-profile deals and acquisitions. It helped scuttle the proposed Google-Yahoo search deal that paved the way for its own deal with Yahoo. It unsuccessfully opposed the DoubleClick and AdMob acquisitions. It also owns Ciao, one of the complainants that helped launch the recent formal European anti-trust investigation against Google. It’s no surprise then that Microsoft has joined FairSearch.org, a coalition of online travel companies opposing Google’s estimated $700 million deal for travel software provider ITA. The acquisition is currently under Department of Justice review. FairSearch includes many of the major travel sites online: Beyond simply trying to thwart a rival, Microsoft has a very “personal” reason to join the group; Bing Travel (formerly Farecast) is partly powered by ITA software. FairSearch got off to a late start but has gained momentum and visibility in the past … [Read more...] about Microsoft Joins FairSearch Group Opposing Google-ITA Acquisition
We’re another step closer to the US Federal Trade Commission launching an expected antitrust investigation of Google. If it does, the FTC will join the EU and Texas in doing broad investigations. But Google’s been examined for antitrust issues many times before this and mostly come through OK. Here’s our comprehensive guide to Google and antitrust actions, over the years. December 2007: FTC Approves Google Purchase Of DoubleClick Perhaps Google’s first real antitrust challenge, it had to fight for approval to purchase DoubleClick. Plenty of opponents lined up against the deal, but Google won FTC approval in December 2007 and later EU approval in March 2008. Some background stories: Nov. 2008: DOJ Helps Kill Google-Yahoo Search Deal In November 2008, Google pulled out of a proposed deal to power Yahoo’s search results, over fears that the US Department Of Justice would file a monopoly suit against the company, if it went ahead. To date, this has been the … [Read more...] about The Definitive Guide To Antitrust Investigations Against Google
Last week in the Chicago Tribune former judge and scholar Robert Bork (who is also a Google advisor) penned an opinion column arguing that by the accepted standards of antitrust law Google has done nothing legally wrong. Bork says, “There is extraordinary competition in the search engine business. Look at the proliferation of what are called vertical search sites that specialize in particular products or services, such as Amazon, Expedia, Kayak and hundreds of others.” Who Competes with Google? This question of who competes with Google — and is the market in fact competitive — is central to the analysis of European and US regulators as the antitrust investigations wind their way through “the system” and potentially to the courts. Google sees many more competitors than do its critics and has been trying for several years to widen the scope of the discussion about “search competition.” If we open the aperture to include vertical sites with … [Read more...] about How “Facebook Search” Could Help Google Escape The Antitrust Noose