Originally published: March 3, 2011
Last updated: March 3, 2011 - 9:27pm
Back in January, Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said he needed to spend more time talking to regulators in Washington. He may need to step it up: The same kind of antitrust problems dogging the company in Europe are flaring up at home.
Federal Trade Commission member J. Thomas Rosch says he favors a review of the search industry. Google has a 66 percent share of the market, and Microsoft's Bing and Yahoo! together have about 29 percent, according to researcher ComScore. "I'm not afraid to take a look" at Google's role, Rosch says. "The big danger is that you're going to have markets" controlled by "monopolists or near-monopolists." Google's dominance in search gives it a big role in determining where consumers do business on the Internet. Its share in search advertising will exceed 75 percent this year, according to estimates by eMarketer. In November the European Commission started looking into whether Google has abused its position by directing users of its search engine to websites it owns or is affiliated with, rather than to those of rivals. The EC is also investigating whether Google has stopped websites from accepting competitors' ads. In the U.S., the Justice Dept. is reviewing Google's proposed acquisition of travel data firm ITA Software. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has requested Google's formula for setting advertising rates as he conducts his own investigation.
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