US regulator defends decision to clear Google of ‘manipulating search results’ charge
Sydney: The US Federal Trade Commission chairman has publicly defended his agency's settlement with Google for the first time since the firm was cleared of claims that it unfairly manipulates its search results to harm its competitors.
The settlement was reached after a nearly two-year investigation into allegations that Google used its dominance to push down search results from its competitors.
FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz told Talking Points Memo said that the agency's decision was legally sound and would be beneficial to competition and consumers.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Leibowitz also addressed questions about the role lobbying played in the investigation.
Google accumulated a 25 million dollars lobbying budget over the course of the FTC's investigation.
Leibowitz pointed out that the lobbying makes the companies feel good and lobbyists feel good, adding that ‘at the end of the day, whether you want to say lobbying had any influence, or canceled itself out because there was lobbying on both sides, if you're going to do what lobbyists want you to do in a regulatory agency, you're not doing your job.’
According to the paper, when the FTC announced the settlement with Google on January 3, it was portrayed as a victory for Google by many US news outlets.
Leibowitz said ‘reporters think of this in some ways as a horse race’, adding that ‘it is really about doing the right thing.’