Google walked away largely unhurt from yesterday’s FTC antitrust investigation settlement, and in the 24 hours or so since that announcement, the online/marketing/tech industry has responded with mixed reactions.
In a nutshell, the FTC settlement prevents Google from scraping third-party content for inclusion in its search results (what it used to do with content from companies like Yelp and TripAdvisor), requires Google to make it easier for advertisers to export campaigns to other platforms, and also requires Google to let competitors fair and reasonable access to its patents for “standards-essential” technologies related to smartphones and other devices.
On our sister site, Greg Sterling writes that this all falls heavily in Google’s favor.
I think what can be definitively said is that this is a major victory for Google (capital M). The settlement requires Google to make some relatively minor changes to its AdWords practices and to the way it deals with the indexing and presentation of third party content. Google will also discontinue some of its patent litigation. All of these are simple actions that involve little or no expense on the company’s part.
Needless to say, some of Google’s competitors aren’t happy with the settlement. Microsoft called it “weak and unusual” and Yelp says it’s “a missed opportunity to protect innovation.” Others, such as digital marketing agencies Marin Software and Kenshoo, were supportive of the settlement — or at least the aspects related to ad campaign portability.
For more on the settlement itself and the industry reaction, see our two stories on Search Engine Land:
- FTC Closes Google Antitrust Case: “Law Protects Competition Not Competitors,” Not Enough Evidence To Prove “Search Bias”
- From Praise To Outrage: Reactions To Google’s Antitrust Settlement