WSJ — Officials at the Federal Trade Commission concluded in 2012 that Google Inc. used anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users and rivals, a far harsher analysis of Google’s business than was previously known… An FTC staff report reveals new details about how Google manipulated search results to favor its own services over rivals’.
The staff report from the agency’s bureau of competition recommended the commission bring a lawsuit challenging three Google practices. The move would have triggered one of the highest-profile antitrust cases since the Justice Department sued Microsoft Corp. in the 1990s.
–Inside the U.S. Antitrust Probe of Google. By Brody Mullins, Rolfe Winkler and Brent Kendall. WSJ, March 19, 2015
Google 3G: Why Bing More Useful to Google Than to Microsoft.
By Gregory Gromov.
Yahoo switched to Bing-powered search results in August 2010. Shortly thereafter, search specialists at Google began noticing that many of the results for Yahoo! searches were the same as those Google searches of the same terms.
Google engineers set up random results on their site for a series of unlikely search terms, such as ‘hiybbprqag.’ (Google arranged for the nonsense word to point to a Los Angeles theater seating plan on its search engine.) ‘Within a couple weeks of starting this experiment, our inserted results started appearing in Bing,’ Google said in a statement on its official blog …
‘ Google: Sting proves Bing copied search results‘ By the CNN Wire Staff
When Google published the search experts’ findings, their colleagues at Microsoft only shrugged, essentially saying that such things happen, that it was no big deal. However, they immediately stopped copying Google’s results. Yahoo! somehow skirted the debate altogether.
However, it was not until later that the most interesting part of the story emerged. At the outset, Google’s experts were very vocal in complaining about the abovementioned results. They then did an abrupt about-face, apparently accepting Microsoft’s explanation. As if on a signal, all the once-spirited grumbling ceased. Both sides suddenly stopped discussing the story.
The reason for this is that with the search engine market so out of balance, Google really needs at least a nominal competitor in the business. In other words, if Bing spontaneously combusted tomorrow – if, for example, Microsoft decided that there was no further need to pursue the already long-lost race for search engine dominance – this would in fact be a great blow to Google.
Google would then be completely vulnerable to accusations of having a monopoly on the US search engine market, and would quickly become the next subject of the Department of Justice’s anti-trust investigations. Conjoined twins Yahoo and Bing hold second and third places in the search engine market, protecting Google from allegations of monopoly, and making Bing more useful to Google than to Microsoft.
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