FTC staffers recommended lawsuit against Google -- so FTC did NOTHING

FTC: What's the point?

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is probably going to check its outbox a bit closer from now on before pressing send. Why? An explosive document from 2012, inadvertently given to The Wall Street Journal, reveals the recommended action agency staffers believed the FTC should have taken against Google. The recommendation: The FTC should file a lawsuit against Google for anti-competitive practices.

So why did the FTC ignore this recommendation, opting instead to give Google a slap on the wrist? Was pressure applied from higher powers to go easy on Google? No one knows...yet.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers welcome their search engine overlord.

Today's humble blogwatcher is .

Brend Kendall and Rolfe Winker serve tasty morsels:

The [FTC] inadvertently shared with The Wall Street Journal a document outlining findings by key staffers who spent more than a year investigating Google's business practices. Here are some highlights.  MORE

Rebecca R. Ruiz and Conor Dougherty renew questions:

The FTC on Thursday faced renewed questions about its handling of its antitrust investigation into Google, after documents revealed that an internal report had recommended stronger action.

The 2012 report, from the agency's Bureau of Competition, said that the agency should sue [Google] for anti-competitive practices, according to several people who saw the report but would speak about it only under the condition of anonymity.  MORE

An unnamed CNNMoney blogger tells us why the EU is so angry:

[Over] time, Google has weaved its own products into search results.

That bumps other websites further down the list of search results. And increasingly, you never need to leave Google's page to get the information you want.

That means you don't visit the websites producing the information. That hurts rivals and their advertising revenue.

It's why Europeans are so angry. Some folks on the other side of the Atlantic have even called for breaking up Google into smaller companies.  MORE

Brittany Hillen:

Despite the [Bureau of Competition] findings, the FTC ultimately voted to essentially slap Google on the wrist in early 2013, bringing the probe to an end as long as Google agreed to make some changes.

Despite [this] a report says that Google caused "significant harm" to its competitors. ... Among some of the claims is that Google illegally copied content from competitor sites and then threatened to drop them from the search results if they challenged the scraping.  MORE

America has the FTC, Shaun Nichols has the EU:

Though Google escaped the wrath of the FTC, it still potentially faces charges from European regulators. The web goliath is the subject of a similar antitrust probe from the EU. It has also flexed its muscles against a US state's attorney general in a dustup over links to drugs turning up in search results.  MORE

Colin Lecher does no evil:

Google reportedly restricted websites that published its search results from collaborating with competing search engines. In other cases, Google refused to allow data obtained from its ad campaigns to be used in campaigns with other services. According to the report, Larry Page personally asked this process to continue, before the FTC eventually convinced Google to shut it down.  MORE

Meanwhile, Shelli Walsh isn't surprised:

FTC reports Google has been fixing rankings for their products...anyone surprised?  MORE

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings and , who curate the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @itblogwatch or itbw@richi.uk. Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.


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