Google is facing an investigation in the US similar to one faced by Microsoft in the 1990s where the government will look into accusations of anti-competitive proactices by the search giant.
A report in the Wall Street Journal this morning, said that the ever reliable “people familiar with the matter,” told the paper that in the next few days regulators from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be serving Google with subponeas regarding a broad antitrust probe. The US investigation comes months after a similar investigation was launched in Europe by the EU. The FTC is expected to request information from Google as well as from other companies about their relationship with the search giant. Previously the FTC has investigated Google regarding its mergers and acquisitions but an investigation on this scale could lead to serious problems for the company. Legal experts believe it will be very hard for the FTC to show Google is being anti-competitive as the law is the US requires the FTC to prove Google is harming the consumers. It is not illegal to operate a monopoly in the US unless you take advantage of your position or acquired the monopoly illegally.
Google and the FTC have both declined to comment on the reports but Google has previously denied any anticompetitive behaviour, arguing that users can easily click on other choices on the web. “Given our success and the disruptive nature of our business, it's entirely understandable that we've caused unease among other companies and caught the attention of regulators," Google executives wrote in a blog post after the launch of the official European probe last year. Microsoft lost an almost decade long battle with the US government and experts believe that while it didn’t split up the company it did harm its public profile and ability to generate profits.
While Google claims it is not engaging in any anticompetitive practices, a full blown investigation by the FTC is not something it will welcome, and no matter what the outcome it is sure to do some damage to its public profile.
Source: Wall Street Journal