The Federal Trade Commission is ready to formally declare war against Google, reports the Wall Street Journal:
WASHINGTON—The Federal Trade Commission is poised to serve Google Inc. with civil subpoenas, according to people familiar with the matter, signaling the start of a wide-ranging, formal investigation into whether the Internet-search giant has abused its dominance on the Web.
The agency’s five-member panel of commissioners is preparing to send its formal demands for information to Google within days, these people said. They said other companies are likely to receive official requests for information about their dealings with Google at a later stage.
Representatives for Google and the FTC declined to comment.
The [FTC's] inquiry…will examine fundamental issues relating to Google’s core search-advertising business, said people familiar with the matter. The business is the source of most of Google’s revenue. The issues include whether Google—which accounts for around two-thirds of Internet searches in the U.S. and more abroad—unfairly channels users to its own growing network of services at the expense of rival providers.
In November, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, opened its own formal investigation into allegations by several companies that Google had violated European competition laws. Google denies the allegations.
A key player in the FTC’s investigation will be the Bureau of Economics antitrust unit — which is now headed by a British government official with extensive ties to European Union authorities. I suspected something was up yesterday, but now I think it’s clear: Jon Leibowitz brought in a foreign economist to help oversee the Google investigation because he couldn’t trust any American economist to validate his insane obsession with destroying one of America’s most successful companies.