Web Users Dodge Bullet as FTC Closes Google Probe

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 3, 2013 — Today, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Google, marking the end of a two-year antitrust probe of the company. While Google agreed to change certain business practices involving patent licensing and advertising portability, the FTC’s investigation concluded that Google’s search engine does not unlawfully disadvantage competitors’ websites or deliver “biased” search results.

Ryan Radia, Associate Director of Technology Studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, issued the following statement:

The FTC’s unanimous decision not to pursue an antitrust lawsuit against Google reflects the vigorous state of competition on the Internet – and the utter failure of Google’s critics to put forward a serious antitrust case against the company.

Today’s ruling also affirms that every company is free to compete by serving its users, no matter how high its market share or how much its rivals suffer as a result. America’s antitrust laws are designed not to punish companies for growing too big or too unpopular, but to ensure no company stifles competition itself. The thriving Internet sector — a bright spot in America’s otherwise lackluster economy — shows no signs of suffering from too little competition.

With the FTC’s search probe closed, both Google and its rivals should refocus on what they do best: building innovative products that create wealth and make our lives better. And the next time a successful Internet company is labeled a monopoly, regulators should think twice before launching a dubious antitrust investigation, or else they may unleash yet another fury of wasteful lobbying and influence-peddling.

CEI Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews said:

The FTC has predictably concluded that Google did not violate antitrust laws—that is, Google does not create consumer harm or inappropriately favor its own products.

The FTC’s objectives were revolts against the objective reality that people like Google. A finding against Google would have meant that Washington would, in effect, have needed to justify coming up with some way to force people to directly or indirectly disfavor Google.

>> For more on the FTC’s case against Google, see:

• Wayne Crews in Forbes: Lessons from the Google Case: There Is No Such Thing as Antitrust

• Ryan Radia in CNET: Google Is Many Things — But Not an Illegal Monopoly