Microsoft Hits FTC For 'Weak' Ruling In Google Antitrust Case


Microsoft is taking the Federal Trade Commission to task for its decision in its Google antitrust investigation this week, calling its lenient ruling in the case "weak" and "a missed opportunity" to halt what it called Google's "ongoing harm to competition in the marketplace."

"The FTC's overall resolution of this matter is weak and -- frankly -- unusual. We are concerned that the FTC may not have obtained adequate relief even on the few subjects that Google has agreed to address," wrote Dave Heiner, Microsoft vice president and deputy general counsel, in a blog post late Thursday.

The FTC announced a settlement with Google Thursday following a 19-month antitrust investigation into the company's advertising business practices, including charges of search engine bias and manipulation and its alleged use of industry-standard patents against competitors.

 

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The FTC found that Google did not engage in antitrust practices, and the agency approved a number of restrictions that Google said it would voluntarily adopt. Those included offering more options for websites to work with Google services without threat of penalization in Google's general search results. And, advertisers can mix and copy ad campaign data within third-party services that use the Google AdWords API.

The FTC also ordered Google to return to "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" practices relating to patents the company acquired when it bought Motorola.

The view among industry observers is that the ruling leaves Google largely unscathed. And Heiner's blog post criticizes the FTC for what Microsoft sees as the agency's inaction.

"The FTC took steps today to address some of Google's improper business practices," Heiner wrote. "We find it troubling that the agency did not adhere to its own standard procedures that call for the agency to obtain industry input on proposed relief and secure it through an enforceable consent decree."

An FTC spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment on Microsoft's statement.

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