Congressman Threatens FTC to Stop Google Antitrust Investigation

He believes the FTC has more obvious and more important targets to worry about

  Google has friends in Congress
The FTC may be getting ready to go after Google in an antitrust lawsuit and Google regularly gets grilled by grandstanding or simply technology ignorant Congress members, but the company does have some friends in Washington.

The FTC may be getting ready to go after Google in an antitrust lawsuit and Google regularly gets grilled by grandstanding or simply technology ignorant Congress members, but the company does have some friends in Washington.

Ramping up your lobbying and making some generous donations here and there will do that for you.

So now congressman Jared Polis, a democrat obviously, who was very vocal in his opposition of SOPA, has written a very "strongly-worded" letter to the Federal Trade Commission, warning it about the dangers of going after Google.

And "strongly-worded" deserves the label in this case, this isn't your typical "you've been a bad FTC" thing, the congressman threatens that going after Google might lead to Congress taking a long, good look at what the FTC does and how it needs to change.

"I believe that application of anti-trust against Google would be a woefully misguided step that would threaten the very integrity of our anti-trust system, and could ultimately lead to Congressional action resulting in a reduction in the ability of the FTC to enforce critical anti-trust protections," he said, not mincing words.

While the position may be a bit too aggressive, it's hard to fault Polis too much, since he's right. The FTC seems determined to get Google, "you can't be this big and not do something wrong" they seem to think.

"At a time when the national economy continues to stagnate, it's not clear to me why the FTC should be focusing on a product that consumers seem very happy with, search engines," he said.

"While Google is surely a big company and an important service in peoples' lives, my constituents also use a variety of competing services," he added.

"To even discuss applying anti-trust in this kind of hyper-competitive environment defies all logic and the very underpinnings of anti-trust law itself," he said.

Not that Google doesn't do wrong, it just got a deserved fine from the FTC over subverting privacy settings in Safari. It had to pay a $500 million fine for advertising online pharmacies that are illegal in the US and doing so after it had already been warned about it.

There is plenty to criticize about Google and perhaps some government scrutiny is in order. But search isn't something to worry about and even its ad business was built and maintained mostly on effectiveness and, more recently, on scale.

It must be frustrating to be Microsoft, offering a search engine that is just as good but still not getting any respect. But being just as good, doing something that someone else already does, well, just as well, is not a winning strategy and never was.

Complaining to government bodies about how "unfair" it all is sounds more like what a spoiled kid would do, not a multibillion dollar company. Then again, a multibillion dollar company which got its way in everything for more than a decade is probably closer to a spoiled kid than you'd think. At least it's putting its lobbying money, a far larger sum than Google's, to good use.

Comments