Could FTC Stop GOOGLE from Being Too Big and Arrogant?

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May 29 2007
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Finally the unstoppable online search and advertising giant Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, stock) has been given the temporary road-block in the sense of an open preliminary antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission into the former’s acquisition into the $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick, a New York based company specializes in software for display advertising and has close relationships with Web publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies.

The inquiry which started last week would be conducted by Federal Trade Commission (FTC) instead of the normal Justice Department. It was reported that FTC will decide within days if the case would be escalated into the second stage known as “second request” for information – a stage which means the seriousness of the antitrust issue is higher than the initial inquiry.

Electronic Privacy Information Center together with Center for Digital Democracy and the United States Public Interest Research Group have formally filed a request for FTC to investigate the privacy implications, claiming that Google collects the search histories of its users, while DoubleClick tracks what Web sites people visit.

The merger, if allowed, would “give one company access to more information about the Internet activities of consumers than any other company in the world.”

However, from the legal perspective, privacy is not an antitrust issue and regulators will most likely weigh the likely impact on competition and struggle with tricky technical matters like defining the relevant market to measure. As expected, Google said it was confident that the deal would withstand scrutiny.

For once, I agreed and would like to see Google being stopped from being the unstoppable giant who has already shown arrogance after cornering the online search and advertising market. As much as I like to put the blame on the incompetency of Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO, stock) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT, stock) search engine, something has to be done to stop Google from continues to grow with its’ super-deep pocket. Even though Google has made me some good money in the past, but the internet are slowly and surely being munched by it and most likely at the current moment my personal data as well as yours could be archive already within Google’s database and this is simply unacceptable.

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