Heartland Institute Experts React to Google Antitrust Ruling

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday ended its antitrust investigation against Google, finding it had not violated the law in the way it structures its search application. The FTC, however, ruled Google misused cellphone patents, and it ordered the company to share the technology with competitors.

The following statements from technology and legal fellows and policy advisors at The Heartland Institute may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/731-9364.

“What a waste of money. Google spent precious resources defending itself against accusations brought by its enemies in the market, which the FTC dutifully spent a good deal of taxpayer money to investigate, ultimately finding nothing much to niggle about. I’m sure we all feel safer from exploitation by Google today.”

S.T. Karnick
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“This is a welcome decision from the Federal Trade Commission, considering its staff report on Google recommended aggressive litigation. But the commission rightly found that U.S. antitrust law is designed to protect consumers, not competitors, and found that Google’s constant drive to improve its search engine in a way that delivers greater tangible and measurable value to both users and advertisers, even if it comes at the expense of competitors, is not illegal.

“The tech sector should find today’s ruling encouraging in that the U.S. government has signaled a willingness to allow market force to play out, and not punish success and innovation.”

Steven Titch
Telecom and Internet Policy Analyst
Reason Foundation
[email protected]

“From the inception of antitrust law, companies have been trying to induce the federal government to eliminate their competitors via the antitrust laws. Microsoft, one of the companies complaining to the Federal Trade Commission about Google, should know this better than most; it was the victim of such a campaign about 15 years ago.

“After an 18-month investigation, the FTC was unable to uncover evidence that Google acted with malicious intent. Companies should compete in the marketplace, not by using the law as a bludgeon.”

Maureen Martin
Senior Fellow for Legal Affairs
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The Federal Trade Commission concluded what the rest of us already knew before they took up their time-consuming, money-sucking, overbearing regulatory authority investigation of Google as the hired gun of Google’s competitors. One recalls when one of those competitors – Microsoft – was unfairly targeted by the FTC for managing to place its Explorer browser on quite a few computers back in the 1990s.

“It seems the lesson learned by Microsoft wasn’t that the company was subjected unnecessarily to antitrust investigation, but, instead, that the FTC is but another tool to be used to push a competitor out of the way.”

Bruce Edward Walker
Policy Advisor, Telecom
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The Federal Trade Commission’s unanimous decision not to pursue an antitrust lawsuit against Google reflects the vigorous state of competition on the Internet – and the utter failure of Google’s critics to put forward a serious antitrust case against the company.

“Today’s ruling also affirms that every company is free to compete by serving its users, no matter how high its market share or how much its rivals suffer as a result. America’s antitrust laws are designed not to punish companies for growing too big or too unpopular, but to ensure no company stifles competition itself. The thriving Internet sector – a bright spot in America’s otherwise lackluster economy – shows no signs of suffering from too little competition.

“With the FTC’s search probe closed, both Google and its rivals should refocus on what they do best: building innovative products that create wealth and make our lives better. And the next time a successful Internet company is labeled a monopoly, regulators should think twice before launching a dubious antitrust investigation, or else they may unleash yet another fury of wasteful lobbying and influence-peddling.”

Ryan Radia
Associate Director of Technology Studies
Competitive Enterprise Institute
[email protected]

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