Google's growing antitrust problem

Calls are growing for a federal investigation of the company, particularly after its AdMob purchase.

By Kim Peterson Apr 21, 2010 12:59PM
Searching for stocks © CorbisNormally, investors barely bat an eyelash if a consumer group calls for an antitrust investigation against a company.

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.

0Comments

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

STOCK SCOUTER

StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

124
124 rated 1
266
266 rated 2
452
452 rated 3
702
702 rated 4
671
671 rated 5
604
604 rated 6
640
640 rated 7
495
495 rated 8
267
267 rated 9
158
158 rated 10
12345678910

Top Picks

SYMBOLNAMERATING
AAPLAPPLE Inc10
ABBVABBVIE Inc10
ATVIACTIVISION BLIZZARD Inc10
CTSHCOGNIZANT TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS10
LUVSOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.10
More

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

ABOUT

Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.