FTC Fires Back at Microsoft, et al. Regarding Google Antitrust Ruling
January 14, 2013 1:24 PM
comment(s) - last by
"We did what we’re paid to do and what the law requires", says Chairman in new interview
heavy criticism from Microsoft
), Yelp Inc. (
), and a slew of other online service firms, the
U.S. Federal Trade Commission
is firing back in a
Talking Points Memo
(TPM). In the interview, he defends the decision to
[PDF] with online search and services giant Google Inc. (
) which called for big changes, but allowed Google to avoid a full blown antitrust lawsuit brought by the federal government (which was the approach Microsoft,
I. FTC Claims That Its Google Ruling Was Fair
Responding to his critics, Chairman Leibowitz comments, "We did what we’re paid to do and what the law requires. We went after a company [Google] where the law required us to do so, and forwent bringing a case where the law required us not to bring one."
He points out that the decision was unanimously approved by the FTC's
, including Leibowitz. He remarks, "Under facts we found, all five of us, from liberal Democrat to conservative Republican, agreed that the evidence militated against an antitrust case. The fact that we managed to have both Google and Google’s rivals unhappy, in an odd way that’s maybe unique to Washington, that puts us in the right place substantively."
U.S. FTC Chairman Jonathan Leibowitz is defending his Commission's settlement with Google against critics like Microsoft. [Image Source: UPI]
He argues that the settlement is significant as it not only pushes Google to change certain search/data-mining practices its critics considered unfair, but it also pushes the company to pursue patent peace in the mobile space. The FTC voted 4-to-1 to adopt a settlement demand that forces Google to pursue arbitration with smartphone rivals, before taking them to court and eating up judicial resources.
Explains Chairman Leibowitz, "We took a pretty meaningful step forward to stop one of the most drastic abuses in patent litigation. [Google] won’t be able to engage in patent holdup, where the threat of an injunction is used as a 'Sword of Damocles.'"
He was pleased to note that Google had responded already,
withdrawing two key patent assertions
nearly finished legal battle against Microsoft
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
. The FTC did allow Google to sue in cases where a rival is
looking to ban its products
(so Google may be able to still pursue action against Apple, Inc. (
)), but the Chairman calls such applications "exceedingly limited defensive uses."
He argues that the FTC's approach is consistent with both Google and its rivals in the smartphone space, commenting, "We don’t want them [smartphone makers] to be able to get injunctions, and we prohibit that except in the one-in-a-million hypothetical. If someone makes a FRAND commitment and reneges, we will go after them."
II. Google Still Faces Antitrust Threats
In regards to media commentary that the settlement was a "win" for Google, he responds, "Reporters think of this in some ways as a horse race. [I]t’s really about doing the right thing. Perhaps to some extent we helped to build up expectations [by the
length of the probe
], but I also think complainants created great expectations of their own. I think that as time goes on, more and more people will recognize we did justice."
The Chairman also rejected the notion that the tens of millions of dollars that Google
poured into lobbying officials
in the federal government on both sides of the political aisle impacted the Commission's vote. He comments, "My sense is that the lobbying makes the companies feel good and lobbyists feel good. At the end of the day, whether you want to say lobbying had any influence, or canceled itself out because there was lobbying on both sides, if you’re going to do what lobbyists want you to do in a regulatory agency, you’re not doing your job."
The decisiveness of the ruling (5-0) may be enough to placate the
U.S. Department of Justice
(DOJ), but an FTC ruling does not necessarily preclude an antitrust lawsuit by the DOJ. For example, in 1991 the FTC probed Microsoft, in an investigation that wrapped up in 1993 with a deadlock -- 2-2 vote -- effectively closing the investigation. Despite that the DOJ would go on to independently investigate and sue Microsoft in a court battle that was considered a milestone in modern U.S. antitrust enforcement.
The EU says it won't go as easy on Google as the FTC did. [Image Source: AFP]
And meanwhile the EU has indicated it will be
in its settlement demands from Google.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: "We did what we’re paid to do..."
1/14/2013 9:43:29 PM
Tying is what MS did; they made it impossible or difficult to remove IE or Windows Media Player. It was quite funny at the anti-trust trial that MS was caught trying to make it look that Win98 ran worse without IE integrated.
Now perhaps one can use Google search and services without needing to use the other. But, Google has made it mandatory to have a google account to sign into Youtube, thus tying something not related (email to a video site). Even MS is allowing different ways to sign into their services (used to require an MS account like hotmail but will accept yahoo and google now).
In any case, read this for yourself and decide if Google is anywhere near MS.
RE: "We did what we’re paid to do..."
1/14/2013 10:24:59 PM
How could we possibly know, if the Wikipedia article about the day google launches skynet and wipes out the human race isn't written yet?
"Vista runs on Atom ... It's just no one uses it". -- Intel CEO Paul Otellini
EU Doesn't Plan to Go Easy on Google (Like the FTC)
January 11, 2013, 9:36 AM
Google Ditches Patent Claim Against Microsoft for Xbox Video Compression
January 9, 2013, 10:49 AM
Microsoft Shouts Antitrust Over YouTube Snub
January 3, 2013, 10:11 AM
Google, FTC Settle Antitrust Spat Without Any Fines
January 3, 2013, 12:57 PM
FTC Frustrates Google With Delay in Antitrust Probe Ruling
December 19, 2012, 11:04 AM
Twitter Senior VP: "Diversity is Important, But We Can’t Lower the Bar"
November 9, 2015, 9:59 AM
CNN Resorts to Internet Censorship to Promote Clinton Over Senator Sanders
October 15, 2015, 2:47 PM
Breaking Bad: How to Crash Google's Chrome Browser With Just 8 Characters
September 23, 2015, 11:08 AM
Quick Note: Amazon UK Offers £10 Back on Any Order £50 or Over
August 3, 2015, 12:05 PM
Editorial: Reddit Allows Itself to be Hijacked as a Hate Platform For Racist Bigots
July 21, 2015, 6:32 PM
Mozilla and Facebook to Adobe: It's Time to Kill Flash
July 20, 2015, 6:30 PM
Most Popular Articles
Top 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information