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FTC Chairman: Google Settlement Was a Win for Consumers, Not Search Giant

Published on January 13, 2013
by John Paczkowski

The Federal Trade Commission’s decision not to pursue antitrust charges against Google raised a lot of eyebrows when it was handed down, and continues to do so today. But according to FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz, leibowitz2 critics who feel the company was let off the hook are mistaken. He maintains the agency’s decision was legally sound and a win for consumers, not Google.

“Under facts we found, all five of us, from liberal Democrat to conservative Republican, agreed that the evidence militated against an antitrust case,” Leibowitz told Talking Points Memo. “The fact that we managed to have both Google and Google’s rivals unhappy, in an odd way that’s maybe unique to Washington, that puts us in the right place substantively.”

And, despite the implications of critics, the efforts of lobbyists did nothing to steer the agency to that place. “My sense is that the lobbying makes the companies feel good and lobbyists feel good,” Leibowitz said. “At the end of the day, whether you want to say lobbying had any influence, or canceled itself out because there was lobbying on both sides, if you’re going to do what lobbyists want you to do in a regulatory agency, you’re not doing your job.”

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