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FTC-Google-Apple: What's wrong with this picture?
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Fri, 2010-06-11 14:11
Curious. Very curious. Now reports have it that the FTC is investigating Apple for mobile ads, given what they learned from their ultimate approval of Google-Admob, despite that merger raising "serious antitrust issues."
What's wrong with this picture?
First, apparently the FTC has concluded that the real risk to competition is not Google-AdMob (that had the #2 player Google buying #1 AdMob for ~75% market share of in-app mobile advertising), but a new entrant, Apple, that had no advertising share at all just a few months ago and bought the weak #3 competitor with less than 10% share.
Second, if the FTC really concluded that competition was sufficient to mitigate the "serious antitrust issues" of Google-AdMob, why not let that supposed mitigating competition from Apple actually compete and mitigate the "serious antitrust issues" with Google-AdMob combining? Does the FTC have faith in their competitive assumptions in Google-AdMob or not?
Third, if the FTC was concerned that both Google-AdMob, and Apple changing its terms of service to advantage Apple, were both potentially anti-competitive, why is the FTC selectively enforcing the law against Apple under a much more difficult Sherman legal standard, but not also enforcing the law against Google under a much easier merger legal standard?
Fourth, why is the FTC investigating behavior by Apple that the FTC implicitly declared was OK behavior for Google to do in Google-DoubleClick?
What's wrong with this picture? Disparate treatment.