WASHINGTON, DC – As Google faces potential antitrust action in Europe for abuse of its dominance in the search market, along with an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) , as well as the recent decision by the FTC to levy the largest fine against a private company, for knowingly bypassing privacy settings of millions of Apple users, the American Consumer Institute (ACI) has called for a formal antitrust investigation into the company with the release of a white paper today.
“From our preliminary analysis, it is no coincidence that the current issues involving Google’s market conduct and performance correspond with its high market concentration. While further work is needed to confirm our findings, we believe there is enough evidence to call policymakers into immediate action, including a comprehensive antitrust investigation. The competitive risks are high and, given the importance of Internet, consumer privacy protection is paramount,” reads the paper.
Authored by Steve Pociask and Joseph P. Fuhr, Jr., the paper is entitled The Search for Market Dominance and seeks to analyze the series of problems involving market conduct by Google and whether or not they are related to the company’s aggressive market dominance, which in many instances has shoved consumer privacy to the backseat. The paper provides statistically significant evidence suggesting that Google is self-dealing – essentially producing search results that favor its own websites over those of its competitors. Google’s actions, good and bad, directly affect users:
“Since search is the first step used by online consumers – such as those making travel plans, finding maps, buying products online and finding other information – if Google’s search engine is not a ‘fair search’ then Google can influence, what we read, where we shop and ultimately what we pay online. If Google is manipulating its search rankings, consumers need to be told; and if Google is collecting unauthorized personal consumer information to give itself an unfair advantage, policymakers need to step in and protect consumer privacy and competition.”
The American Consumer Institute seeks to ensure freedom for consumers to make their own choices and the importance of giving consumers better information to make their own choices, instead of having “others” choose for them.
The white paper will be released widely to interested third parties, Members of Congress, and key Hill committee staff. To view the entire paper, please go to: