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Print 26 comment(s) - last by YashBudini.. on Apr 6 at 7:23 PM

Google's possible purchase of ITA Software Inc. may lead to an antitrust investigation

It's well understood that Google is the world's most popular search engine. The company runs over one million data centers and servers around the world, and is well known by computer users of all levels from beginners to professionals. But as of late, this success is being viewed as internet dominance by both the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department. 

Google is an American multinational public corporation that runs the world's most successful search engine, and also owns the Android operating system. The company is also involved in cloud computing and advertising technologies. It was incorporated as a privately held company in 1998, with its initial public offering in 2004. The company has grown tremendously over the years, and now processes over one billion search requests per day. 

Now, Google is looking to expand its presence even more by purchasing ITA Software Inc., which is an airline ticketing software company. This transaction will cost Google $700 million if it decides to go through with the purchase. 

But this purchase could cost Google more than just the $700 million. According to recent reports, the FTC is looking to launch an antitrust investigation of Google's internet dominance, but the investigation will be pursued only if the Justice Department decides whether it will challenge the ITA Software purchase. 

The FTC and the Justice Department are not the only agencies looking into Google's web dominance. Last November, the European Commission launched a similar investigation, and last week, Microsoft filed a complaint with European antitrust regulators because of Google's growing presence and power over web search competition. 

According to Bloomberg, the Justice Department is expected to announce its decision soon, but there is no set time or date at this point. 



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RE: What Competition?
By GuinnessKMF on 4/5/2011 11:50:43 AM , Rating: 1
It sounds like you don't know what competition is. You say there will be competition when they stop being the best... do you have any idea the barrier to entry for the search market.

The fact you don't understand how it's a market either is absurd, it's about ad revenue and leveraging the information that comes with serving the entire populations search requests. They're not giving it to you for free because they like you.

When was the last time you tried any of the other search engines? Bing is much better than it used to be, I mainly use google but I will often search both if I'm trying to be thorough, I still find bing's image search to be better, and if I want to see satellite images I usually check both sites to see which is newer.

You don't think people made similar arguments about using Windows or IE, when the competition looked so far behind?


RE: What Competition?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/2011 11:57:55 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
It sounds like you don't know what competition is. You say there will be competition when they stop being the best... do you have any idea the barrier to entry for the search market.


That's not a concern. If a market has an entry fee, it has an entry fee. Are you saying buying a tiny company for $700 million is somehow tipping the scales? Please.

quote:
The fact you don't understand how it's a market either is absurd, it's about ad revenue and leveraging the information that comes with serving the entire populations search requests. They're not giving it to you for free because they like you.


Duh? Everything Google offers is free, or virtually, free to the consumer. That was my point. Nobody is being "hurt" if Google is the only show in town. Hello??

quote:
When was the last time you tried any of the other search engines? Bing is much better than it used to be, I mainly use google but I will often search both if I'm trying to be thorough, I still find bing's image search to be better, and if I want to see satellite images I usually check both sites to see which is newer.


Good for you? How is this relevant? Actually you're proving there is still room for competition, thanks for helping my case.

This is just more anti-business bullyism by the government. Nothing more to see here.


RE: What Competition?
By BioHazardous on 4/5/2011 2:57:01 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Duh? Everything Google offers is free, or virtually, free to the consumer. That was my point. Nobody is being "hurt" if Google is the only show in town. Hello??

Right because Google is some magical company that gives everything away for free yet somehow makes money.

The point of the article wasn't Google's dominance as a search engine. It's more about how Google is branching out into everything related to the Internet. I for one would be a little concerned as well about the number of things Google is after. I have an Android phone, use AdWords for multiple companies, use gmail, use Google search, etc. So I obviously don't dislike some of the things they've done, but if they start buying all these companies and patents that pertain to the Internet, networking, and e-commerce, then how could anybody possibly come up with something else to compete with them?

quote:
and you know what, we don't WANT competition.
quote:
This is just more anti-business bullyism by the government. Nothing more to see here.

Sounds a bit hypocritical to say you don't want competition in this industry and to then say the government is anti-business for starting to question Google's dominance over everything related to the Internet.

quote:
As long as they are delivering a better product that anyone else can even fathom (and they are), why do we need Government roadblocks? There is no "anti competitive" practice going on here, because there IS nobody who can compete and never has been.

To the other guys point who replied to you and said he's started to use Bing again; there are some better or equivalent solutions out there but they still can't accomplish anything because of how entrenched Google is with everything related to the Internet, from Ads, to Search, to Email, to Travel (if they buy this company), to Networking / Internet (if they buy all those patents from Nortel), etc. etc.

To summarize, Google so far has been a good company to deal with, but at what point does their reach into the realm of the Internet exceed what any single company should have? I can't imagine once they own everything they want in terms of intellectual property, companies, and technology that people will benefit from it versus a bunch of smaller companies competing in niche markets.


RE: What Competition?
By JakLee on 4/5/2011 4:44:23 PM , Rating: 3
This reminds me of AOL back in the 90's. They WERE the internet for most people. Part of the reason that they were so popular intially was that they did things better than everyone else, until one day, they didn't.

That isn't to say that there was not other solutions, even providers that were better when they were doing very well. As long as Google continues to have services that people find useful to use, they will continue to use them. If they ever do switch to something where it is "better" for people to not use them (whether that is ease of use, features, anger at company decisions, ect), then someone else will come along that takes their place.

Google does store lots of information about users. That information is powerful when used. I don't mind the gov making sure they are using it "appropriately".


RE: What Competition?
By Reclaimer77 on 4/5/2011 7:19:38 PM , Rating: 2
More fear-mongering. Yes Google has plans to conquer the world, thank god the FTC has their eye on em right?

quote:
It's more about how Google is branching out into everything related to the Internet.


You mean like Microsoft, Apple, etc etc?

quote:
Sounds a bit hypocritical to say you don't want competition in this industry and to then say the government is anti-business for starting to question Google's dominance over everything related to the Internet.


I think you missed the point. Has Google overtly done anything illegal or even unethical to discourage others from doing the same? Where is it written that Google and only Google can "dominate" everything Internet related?

So if you are ready, willing, and able to extend your market share beyond what others can/have, something is inherently wrong with that. That's the vibe I'm getting here, isn't that what you're saying?

quote:
So I obviously don't dislike some of the things they've done, but if they start buying all these companies and patents that pertain to the Internet, networking, and e-commerce, then how could anybody possibly come up with something else to compete with them?


Again, it's perfectly legal for Google and private parties and buy and sell at will. What's the problem again? NOTHING is stopping someone else from doing the same. There was room 5-10 years ago for competition and there's still room today.

If nobody else steps up is Google supposed to just sit on their ass and worry about other companies not being able to compete with them and do nothing? They are a business, they have shareholders, it's their responsibility to gross as much profit as possible.

quote:
To summarize, Google so far has been a good company to deal with, but at what point does their reach into the realm of the Internet exceed what any single company should have?


Well I guess at THAT point, whatever it is because you can't still define it, we can go crying to the FTC. Some tiny purchase of $700 million isn't getting us to that point though.


RE: What Competition?
By nafhan on 4/5/2011 1:17:20 PM , Rating: 2
The FTC generally will be looking for anti-competitive behavior. It's possible for a company to exert illegal anti-competitive behavior without a monopoly just as it's possible to have a monopoly without exerting anti-competitive pressure on the market.

Google's big enough that they could easily exert that type of pressure, but it's not clear that they are doing so. My opinion is that they are the leader solely by virtue of having the best products at the best price.

By announcing an investigation, the FTC is making it clear that they understand that Google could be doing something wrong, and they definitely could be. It doesn't mean that Google is doing something wrong.


RE: What Competition?
By ketchup79 on 4/6/2011 11:43:59 AM , Rating: 2
And what about probable cause? I could be doing something illegal right now, but that doesn't mean I am, or that the FTC has probable cause to come investigate me. It sounds to me like Microsoft has some influence in the FTC.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007














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