Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has come under fire numerous times by competitors in court due to its alleged monopolistic behavior. Google has denied the use of any unfair means while conducting its business. However, according to a recently leaked report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Google Inc. is guilty of indulging in monopolistic behavior, as the company bullied smaller competitors into complying with its one-sided policies and terms.
According to the leaked report, Google Inc. took content, without permission, from competitors, namely Yelp, Amazon.com, as well as TripAdvisor Inc., for the betterment of its own search engine related services. The report provided numerous cases as evidence to support this claim. One such case stated in the report claimed Google Inc. stole the sales ranking mechanism from Amazon.com and employed it on its own products and services. The report further stated that Google even copied the review and ratings system that Amazon.com has employed on its website.
When these competitors asked Google to stop copying their content, Google threatened to have them removed from its search engine listing entirely, the report said. The purpose of this threatening was to keep these comparatively smaller competitors in place, and to “coerce Yelp and TripAdvisor into backing down.”
The FTC Report also stated that Google’s actions caused harm to consumers and innovators alike in the “real” sense, and hampered the overall business productivity of the industry, hampering the conducive business environment tech companies have been working hard to build all over the world.
Google Inc. is the market leader in the search engine industry, boasting a business worth billions of dollars. The company provides many other services to consumers, such as its world-famous mobile operating system called Android OS, its mailing service called Gmail, and its cloud storage service called Google Drive. However, the Google Search Engine remains the backbone of the business, as it is the most popular service on the internet, so much so that the term “Google” has become synonymous with “searching something on Google Search Engine”, and is used quite a lot in pop culture.
To claim that the company has used unfair means to gain advantage over competitors sheds a very bad light on the business itself, both from the investor and consumer point of view. The company boasts an excellent advertising service, which is also a key money maker for the company. This is exactly why reports of unlawful behavior by the company in the search engine spectrum of its business is unacceptable to Google Inc., as it would mean a massive blow to the company if its search engine business in hampered by legal disputes of such severity.
However, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has replied swiftly to such claims when they were first made in 2012, by offering up a choice to websites to “opt out” of having their content placed in the listing of the Google search results. After this move, the FTC, in 2013, had dropped the investigation on Google altogether, with a unanimous vote of 3-0.