Apple has been subpoenaed by the United Stated Federal Trade Commission as part of an antitrust investigation of Google, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The FTC is reportedly interested in an agreement with Apple that made Google the default search engine on Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. ”As mobile search gets more widespread, the default setting becomes more significant,” antitrust lawyer Allen Grunes told Bloomberg. The FTC has been looking into Google’s business practices — specifically, its search business — for almost a year.
Sprint has received subpoenas from Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington regarding its opposition of AT&T’s planned $39 billion T-Mobile USA acquisition, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division also issued a subpoena. Sprint has been a staunch opponent of the deal and its CEO Dan Hesse has said the acquisition will “stifle innovation” in the U.S. wireless market. He also said that “clearly, purely, [Sprint wants] to win and block the merger,” when it was revealed that Hesse was working with 18 state regulators to block the acquisition. The deal is getting an in-depth investigation from both the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission. On June 22nd, AT&T’s General Counsel Wayne Watts said that the acquisition was on schedule for approval in March of next year. An AT&T spokesperson told Reuters that AT&T also received the same nine subpoenas. More →
Google officially announced on Friday that it received word on Thursday that the Federal Trade Commission will begin reviewing its business. Google said that “it’s still unclear what the FTC’s concerns are,” but early reports have suggested the complaints involve the Internet giant’s search and online advertising businesses. Google said that it will continue to follow its five pillars: “do what’s best for the user,” “provide the most relevant answers as quickly as possible,” “label advertisements clearly,” “be transparent,” and “loyalty, not lock-in.” “These are the principles that guide us, and we know they’ll stand up to scrutiny. We’re committed to giving you choices, ensuring that businesses can grow and create jobs, and, ultimately, fostering an Internet that benefits us all,” Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow, wrote on the company blog Friday. There are, however, some groups that are concerned Google is becoming a monopoly. Read on for more background. More →
The Federal Communications Commission may subpoena Google during the next five days as part of an anti-trust investigation related to the company’s search and web advertising practices. According to The Wall Street Journal, it is only illegal to purchase or abuse a monopoly, and so a subpoena and an investigation aren’t particularly damning to Google. Reportedly, investigators will examine if the search giant has purposely pushed users towards using its own services, as opposed to those offered by its rivals, using its own online advertising and search network. “Google engages in anticompetitive behavior…that harms consumers by restricting the ability of other companies to compete to put the best products and services in front of Internet users, who should be allowed to pick winners and losers online, not Google,” Fairsearch.org said. The watchdog group is representing a number of Google competitors Expedia, Kayak, Sabre Holdings, and Microsoft. Google faced a similar threat from the Justice Department in April when it proposed buying ITA software, but it settled by allowing the government body to examine some of its practices. The WSJ said a subpoena and an investigation could take a year to wrap-up, and it’s entirely possible nothing will change. More →
Time Warner has been ordered by a U.S. District Court judge in Washington to identify hundreds of people accused of illegally downloading movies over its broadband network. The ISP had previously argued that identifying the accused parties would be “unfairly expensive and time-consuming,” and it asked that the judge reject the subpoenas for subscriber information. Of the three pending cases where subpoenas for subscriber data were issued, the judge agreed to quash one, as the plaintiff, Maverick Entertainment Group, failed to properly serve the subpoena in compliance with the law. The other two stand, however, and Time Warner will have to identify approximately 250 subscribers. Maverick, one of three movie companies currently seeking the identities of anonymous Internet users who are accused of illegally downloading their copyrighted materials, has 10 days to re-issue the subpoena or it may lose access to the identities of over 700 users. More →