Few companies face as many anti-trust accusations and investigations as Google but, if this leaked report from FTC staff is to be believed, things are actually worse than they seem. The government concluded back in 2012 that Google’s business practices had caused “real harm to consumers and to innovation,” and many staff members were pushing to sue the company but, as we all know, that never happened.
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. 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. The 160-page critique, which was supposed to remain private but was inadvertently disclosed in an open-records request, concluded that Google’s “conduct has resulted—and will result—in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets.” The findings stand in contrast to the conclusion of the FTC’s commissioners, who voted unanimously in early 2013 to end the investigation after Google agreed to some voluntary changes to its practices.