The size and scope of Google’s multinational, multibillion dollar empire makes it a lightning rod for legal issues. It would be hard for a corporation as large as Google to avoid intense scrutiny, and the search giant is facing legal trouble across the globe for antitrust issues. They are embroiled in investigations run by the European Union and the state of Texas, and now, it looks like the US Federal Trade Commission may launch their own full-scale antitrust probe.
Bloomberg reported recently that “two people familiar with the matter” indicated that the FTC is strongly considering an investigation. They are said to be waiting for the Justice Department to decide whether or not it will challenge the planned acquisition of ITA Software, Inc., which has the potential to impede competition in the travel-related search business. Depending on the Justice Department’s decision, either that agency or the FTC will begin looking into Google’s activities to see if they are operating a monopoly on search-related industries.
A Google spokesperson said, “Since competition is one click away on the Internet, we work hard to put our users’ interests first and give them the best, most relevant answers to their queries. We built Google for users, not websites.”
The states of Ohio and Wisconsin are also considering investigations of their own. Antitrust attorney, Gary Reback, who represents companies that have complained about Google’s practices, says, “An investigation is long overdue. Everyday there are companies who are being hurt by Google’s anticompetitive behavior and we still have arm-wrestling going on in Washington.”
Has Google expanded in too many directions? These probes indicate that certainly looks like the case.