Photo: Photo by Joshua Lawton
Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission warning it to “tread carefully” before taking antitrust action against Google.The FTC hasn’t made any moves against Google, but a majority of its commissioners are reportedly in favour of some kind of action.
Polis, a former Internet entrepreneur, says he depended on Google ads to reach customers when he launched ProFlowers, an online florist, and claims that Google generates $1.4 billion a year in economic activity for Colorado businesses.
“At a time when the national economy continues to stagnate, it’s not clear to me why the FTC should be focusing on a product that consumers seem very happy with,” Polis writes.
In the conclusion of his letter, Polis says that Congress could take “action resulting in a reduction in the ability of the FTC to enforce critical antitrust provisions.” That could be read as a veiled threat.
Polis doesn’t seem fully briefed on the debate, which focuses not so much on consumer choice of Web search engines, but rather the ability of advertisers to take search campaigns from Google to rivals like Microsoft’s Bing and the way Google favours its own products in its search results.
But he does have a point that the Internet is fast-moving. As we’ve noted, any potential action is coming right as rivals like Facebook, Amazon, and Apple are eroding Google’s dominance.