“Don’t be evil” – The informal corporate motto from Google might just be coming back to bite them. The initial thought may have been to focus the company on honest decision making and a anti-cheating behavior, but that might just be part of the past now. The Federal Trade Commission believes that an antitrust case should be brought against Google. The FTC is still investigating and sources have indicated that a final decision will come in late November or early December.
All we currently know is that a “long list” of companies have complained to the FTC that Google has unfairly given a lower quality ranking to their web sites in order to drive users towards Google product that provide a similar service. The lower rank often has companies buying more advertisements with Google to improve their visibility among potential customers.
As expected, Google has denied any wrong doing in the matter and are more than happy to answer any question that regulators have. Of course, this is the same stance that Microsoft took when the FTC challenged them with being anti-competitive behavior. Google holds a lot of power to make or break a company based on their ranking, so it’s no surprise that this would eventually be called into question. But they don’t exactly have a clean track record either. Back in August they agreed to pay $22 million in a charge they bypassed privacy settings in Apple’s Safari browser. And then there’s the extremely questionable behavior in their handling of the Skyhook/GPS issue with Motorola – prior to their purchase of the handset maker.
(Source = Reuters)