New documents that had recently surfaced indicate that Google was just able to avoid a lawsuit due to the anti-competitive activities the search giant did in the United States. These revelations can severely affect Google?s future in the European Union, as it is currently undergoing a similar investigation on nearly the same issues.
The History of the Issue
In 2012, senior level staff of the Federal Trade Commission had recommended the filing of antitrust charges against Google, according to information released to the Wall Street Journal where one of the documents was that memo detailing the possible plan. The suit was dropped after Google was able to enter into an agreement where Google would adjust its practices.
The said agreement was announced by FTC External Counsel Beth Wilkinson, who said, ?The evidence the FTC uncovered through this intensive investigation prompted us to require siginificant changes in Google?s business practices. However, regarding the specific allegations that the company biased its search results to hurt competition, the evidence collected to date did not justify legal action by the Commission. Undoubtedly, Google took aggressive actions to gain advantage over rival search providers. However the FTC?s mission is to protect competition and not individual competitors. The evidence did not demonstrate that Google?s actions in this area stifled competition in violation of US law.?
The Aftershocks of the Possible Suit
Despite dodging a bullet, Google?s European operations may be severely hampered, if one European lawmaker?s words are to be followed. According to Spanish representative to the European Union Ramon Tremosa I Balcells, ?This new evidence is crucial and could not come at a better time.?
Balcells has been known to be aggressive against Google and was one of the strongest voices in supporting the European Parliamentary resolution calling for the possible break-up of Google, specifically for unfair competition and anti trust violations.
What Google said on the non-suit
As for Google, the search giant said, through its General Counsel Kent Walker, ?Speculation about potential consumer harm turned out to be entirely wrong. Since the investigation closed two years ago, the ways people access information online have only increased, giving consumers more choice than ever before.?
The company said that instead of looking at the FTC investigation, the viewpoint that should be taken is that no suits were filed by the FTC against Google.