Google's growing antitrust problem
Calls are growing for a federal investigation of the company, particularly after its AdMob purchase.
But in the case of Google (GOOG), the latest call to action by Consumer Watchdog is one more piece of the antitrust puzzle being assembled to threaten the company.
Google is already in the sights of the Federal Trade Commission, according to The Wall Street Journal. Antitrust regulators are reportedly looking into the company's recent purchase of AdMob, a mobile phone advertising company.
And lawmakers are taking notice, too. The U.S. senator in charge of the Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee is alarmed, and recently wrote a letter asking the FTC to look at the AdMob deal.
This particular senator, Herb Kohl, likely carries a lot of influence with the FTC, too. That's because the chairman of the FTC worked under Kohl for more than a decade, the Financial Times reports.
Why the harsh look at Google? The company already has a solid mobile advertising business. And AdMob is also a strong competitor in that category. Combining the two could create a giant that -- if not now, then later -- will unfairly dominate the industry, critics say.
"Allowing any one firm to dominate this market could result in higher prices for mobile advertising on the Internet and with respect to smart phone applications, and also could result in lower revenues realized by applications developers," Kohl wrote in his letter.
Google is also running into trouble with the Department of Justice related to its Google Books settlement. And Europe is jumping in, too, examining three different antitrust complaints that target Google.
Which brings us back to Consumer Watchdog, which has gone so far as to raise money to conduct its own antitrust investigation of Google, The San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The group has planned a press conference for Wednesday to ask the Justice Department to investigate Google.
Google's stock price has been in ho-hum territory this year, after an incredible rise last year to top $600 at the end of December. Now, the stock languishes around $550, and some analysts are concerned about the company's plans to increase spending.
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