It has been two years since the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started a probe into Google’s business practices. There had been numerous contentions and complaints regarding Google and its alleged strong hand tactics when it comes to business deals. The key point to take into consideration is Google’s dominance of the market and industry which enables it to enjoy a bonafide monopoly. The probe seems to be headed towards the finish line with news emerging that Google and the FTC are working on a deal.
The only way Google could clear its name is by agreeing to what the FTC has stipulated. However, some of Google’s competitors are not too happy with the concessions that are to be implemented on Google.
Limitations to Be Imposed on Google
The two major restrictions which are to be imposed on Google, pending approval from the five-member commission appointed to handle the case, are:
- Google won’t have a free hand to use bits and pieces from other websites. Previously, it has been seen that Google has lifted components from websites. Now, that luxury would be taken back and Google would have to justify their actions if they continue doing it.
- More importantly, Google would no longer use its position to influence marketers. Marketers would have a choice to publish their ads with any service they want. As of now, most of the ads on the web are placed through Google.
The issue regarding these two limitations has been around even before the probe started. Marketers and other websites would breathe a sigh of relief once Google agrees to the settlement and the deal is sealed.
Main Concern Not Addressed
However, it does give rise to the issue that the main concern has not been addressed. The reason why the probe was launched in the first place was that Google is abusing its position and power by being monopolistic. The restrictions which have been recommended do not have any clear-cut mention of this. Hence, it can be deduced that the commission has not addressed the concern that Google is gaining an unfair advantage over its competitors because of the power it has.
Already Google has been asked to pay a $22.5 million fine because it was tracking the browser activity of Apple Safari users. In addition, Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion is also under the scanner over allegations that the company underpaid for the patents it obtained. It seems as though the case is going to drag on and on unless and until a viable decision is made by the commission. On the other hand, Google would not be in much of a hurry to settle the probe.
The year has almost reached its end and it is highly unlikely the settlement would be made before the next year. The probe has already been going on for over two years. A few more months wouldn’t hurt as long as the right decision is made. However, according to the news doing the rounds, the concessions imposed on Google are far from ideal.
[Image via krishanghedia]