Victory on the main issue raised in the US anti-trust investigation of Google – the charge of search bias – is likely to remove any self-imposed limits the company has observed while under intense regulatory scrutiny over the past two years (Google’s own response, hinting at more aggressive competition to come, certainly suggested as much.)
Another consequence, noted by former FTC official David Balto: Any hopes that rivals had about riding on the back of regulatory action to bring their own private lawsuits have been dashed.
But in the area of patents, at least, the concession Google has made to end a US anti-trust investigation could have wider ramifications. Read more
Here’s another sign that winning approval for Google’s purchase of mobile advertising company AdMob isn’t turning out to be plain sailing in Washington: Senator Herb Kohl, chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust sub-committee, has just written to the Federal Trade Commission urging it to take a long, hard look at the deal.
It’s worth noting Kohl’s close ties to Jon Leibowitz, the FTC chairman. Leibowitz was a long-time staffer for Kohl, having served as his chief counsel for 12 years up to 2000. And while Kohl doesn’t come right out and say the AdMob deal should be blocked, he doesn’t stop far short. Read more
The US Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday that heavily promoted identity theft prevention company LifeLock agreed to pay it and 35 states $12m to settle their accusations that it deceived consumers with a bogus $1m “guarantee” that it would stop fraud in their names.
The FTC’s legal complaint is the latest in a series of embarrassments for the Arizona company, which charges $10 a month and seared itself into the public’s mind with ads featuring the likes of former Sen. Fred Thompson, Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh. Read more