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For years we've heard that regulators may one day take antitrust action against Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) . Well, the wait is over. The Federal Trade Commission last week opened a formal probe into the search king's business.
Google Fellow Amit Singhal wrote in a blog post that it remains "unclear exactly what the FTC's concerns are," but The Wall Street Journal talked to a number of unnamed sources who say the FTC is checking to see if Google is abusing its dominance in Internet search and search advertising.
Surely we'll get more details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, investors have a few curiosities to consider:
- The probe comes a little more than a year after the FTC cleared the way for Google to acquire AdMob, a leading platform for delivering ads to mobile phones and the primary alternative to Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iAd service.
- Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) are developing a formidable Google competitor in Bing. In March, the two combined to serve roughly 30% of the country's searches while buddying up to Facebook for social search.
- And Facebook, now apparently on track to go public next year at a $100 billion valuation, is working on a platform that eliminates the need for a distinct operating system for delivering apps. That's as much a threat to Android as it is to Apple's iOS.
Will the FTC take these factors into consideration when evaluating whether Google is abusing its power as the leading search engine? What else should regulators consider? We're asking you. Please vote in the poll below and then leave a comment to tell us what you think about the FTC's probe and Google's market position.