U.S. regulators might launch an investigation into Google's dominance of the internet search industry, Reuters and Bloomberg reported Tuesday. It's not the first whiff of antitrust troubles for the tech giant. Last week, Microsoft filed a complaint with the European antitrust regulators who have been investigating Google for months. Does Google really do no evil, as its corporate motto demands, or should it get slapped down by the feds? (Watch a Bloomberg discussion about the rumored investigation.)
Google deserves some scrutiny: The tech titan is certainly big enough to unfairly steamroll lesser competitors if it wants, says Gavin Dunaway at Adotas. Its planned acquisition of travel-industry-focused ITA Software Inc. has airlines "scared [that] Google will manipulate travel search results to favored partners — the ones who pay to be high in Google's search results." If that happened, "everybody in the game would start shelling out to Google," then hike fares to compensate. "Wouldn't that be evil?"
"Does Google deserve these federal hassles?"
Competitors are not powerless against Google: OK, so Google has 66 percent of the U.S. search market, says Ian Paul at PCWorld. But it can't exactly lock down users — "search engines such as Bing, Blekko and DuckDuckGo are available to anyone with just a few mouse clicks." Americans aren't sticking with Google because of trickery. They just don't want to try anything else.
"Is Google headed for a Microsoft-size antitrust headache?"
Google is looking and sounding a lot like Microsoft: The complaints about Google's dominance, says Jenna Green at The National Law Journal, sound a lot like the beef against Microsoft when the software giant was on top of the world in the 1990s. Though "Google has taken pains to style itself as the anti-Microsoft, adopting the slogan "Don't be evil," it's borrowed Microsoft's main argument, namely: Our products (such as Google Books) are free, so they do no harm. The thing is, squeezing out the competition stifles innovation, and that hurts everyone.
"Microsoft all over again?"