When Personal Views On a Product Are Confused With Legal Issues

Editor’s Note:  The following column from WindowsITPro highlights (inadvertantely) the danger of confusing personal likes/dislikes about a product with any questions regarding whether the product is being lawfully distributed.  The author does not like Google’s tremendously popular Android operating system.  That’s his right.  What’s wrong is the author’s apparent belief that creating significant competition to Apple and other smartphone operating systems constitutes “ illegal behavior.”   Before anyone decides that Google’s approach to injecting competition into the smartphone market is illegal, they should familiarize themselves with the difference between actions which increase competition and those which have the opposite effect.

What’s really at stake in the Google antitrust case?

Editor’s Note:  The discussion below highlight the perils to many technology companies, not just Google, of FTC investigations without clear guidelines to both investigators and IT companies as to what corporate actions the agency considers unacceptable.

From: ZDNet

By Matt Weinberger

Summary: The FTC probe into Google’s allegedly anticompetitive business practices may prove damaging to the search giant. But the entire technology market could be at risk, too.

There’s a lot we don’t know about the FTC’s antitrust investigation into Google. But no matter how it plays out, one of the fundamental principles of the Internet as we know it is on trial.

Commissioner Says FTC Is Not Ready to Advise on Do-Not-Track

From: ClickZ

Federal Trade Commission member J. Thomas Rosch expressed skepticism about self-regulatory initiatives and said the agency is not yet ready to endorse a do-not-track mechanism or advise Congress on privacy legislation.

Rosch, a Republican appointed by President George W. Bush, spoke yesterday at the Technology Policy Institute conference in Aspen, CO. As reported yesterday by CNET’s Declan McCullagh, the commissioner said the FTC should gather more information about tracking practices of ad networks and other online ad firms before endorsing a do-not-track mechanism, or anything else designed to help consumers protect their privacy online.

Google’s Motorola Deal Will Spur Antitrust Regulators to Action

From:  WSJ/All Things Digital

To say that Google is going to face some opposition to its proposed $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility is what you might call a bit of an understatement.

First of all, the deal will give a lot of fresh meat to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which is already investigating several aspects of Google’s business, including its Android mobile operating system business. As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, investigators from the FTC and from the offices of several state attorneys general have been exploring whether or not Google prevents phone manufacturers who become Android partners from using the smartphone operating systems of other companies.

Has Microsoft Thought Through Its Support for FTC Action Against Google?

Microsoft, a company with notable experience in antitrust litigation, is a member of an association of search-related businesses called FairSearch.org which supports antitrust action against Google.  However, as Search Engine Watch has noted in a discussion of issues regarding Google’s search servcie and smart phone operating system,

As you can see, answers to these questions could apply to more than just Google. Other groups, most notably Apple and Microsoft, would suffer the consequences of the legal precedents if Google was restricted in any of these areas.

FTC Focuses Probe on Android, Web Search

Editor’s Note:  The following article from The Wall Street Journal indicates that indicates that the Commission’s inquiries into internet-related emerging technologies may extend to “smart phone” operating systems. 

By THOMAS CATAN And AMIR EFRATI

Federal Trade Commission officials are focusing their antitrust investigation on several key areas of Google Inc.’s business, including its Android mobile phone software and Web search related services, people familiar with the probe say.

Six weeks after serving Google with broad subpoenas, FTC lawyers, in conjunction with several state attorneys general, have been asking whether Google prevents smartphone manufacturers that use its Android operating system from using competitors’ services, these people said.

Comment: regulators take a close look at Google, Inc.

Editor’s Note:  The following discussion notes that “dominant technology-oriented U.S. corporations are a favored target of the Antitrust Division.”  What is not explained is why America’s most innovative and globally competitive companies are targeted for investgation without clear cause.

From: Patton Boggs LLP

Google Inc. has come under increasing scrutiny by the DOJ and FTC as well as foreign regulators for alleged anticompetitive conduct in its search and advertising practices. In June 2011, Google received a subpoena from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) arising from a civil investigation into Google’s dominance in the search industry. The chief concern appears to be whether Google directs users to its own non-search services instead of similar services offered by Google competitors. The European Commission has already opened a similar investigation. As we previously noted, Google set aside $500 million in May in connection with a DOJ investigation of the use of Google ads by “certain advertisers.”    

French online deal firm wants EU probe into Google

Editor’s Note:  The French company discussed in the article below, Deal du Jour, has filed a complaint with the FTC.  The article does not provide any indication as to whether there is any support for the company’s allegations or if there are any other relevant issues, such as whether the French firm violated any service agreements with the online advertising company.

(Reuters) – French online daily dealscompany Deal du Jour has complained about Google’s business practices to EU antitrust regulators, the latest company to take its grievances about the web search giant to the European Commission.