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September 2012 Policy Study, Number 12-10


The Federal Trade Commission’s Investigation of Google


The Law does not Support a Case Against Google



But government should be skeptical of Google’s competitors’ claims. They do not make a case for government interference.[5]


There are two issues government (in this case, the Federal Trade Commission) should address before launching an investigation into a company’s practices. One is, is it likely the government will find a violation of any relevant law? The other issue, equally important, is, even if there is a violation, is there a remedy — a solution — that would make consumers better off? Investigations are time-consuming and expensive. Time and money spent by a company on complying with government investigators’ massive information requests is time and money not spent on developing the next new thing for consumers, so government agencies should not undertake investigations unless there is a reasonable prospect that consumers can be made better off as a result.




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