Senators Tell FTC To Put Brakes On Antitrust Cases Against Tech Companies

With reports swirling that the Federal Trade Commission is readying an antitrust case against Google, some Republican senators say the agency should hold its fire.

"In the interest of providing more regulatory certainty for American consumers and job creators, we urge the Federal Trade Commission to act with humility and restrain itself," states the letter, sent today to the FTC. The letter was signed by Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Orrin Hatch (Utah), John Thune (S.D.), John Cornyn (Texas), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), and Marco Rubio (Fla.).

"We hope the commission considers the consequences of hampering legitimate business model innovations and market activities of companies under an aimless, expansive and possibly unauthorized use of the commission's powers," the lawmakers write.

Although the senators don't mention Google by name -- and, in fact, say they aren't taking a position on any matters under investigation -- the letter specifically expresses concerns about an antitrust action "against businesses in the rapidly evolving technology industry."

Bloomberg reported this week that the FTC is pressuring Google to enter into a consent decree to settle the probe of its business practices. The news service says the FTC's investigation focuses on several areas, including allegations that Google returns links to its own services higher in the search results than those of competitors.

Meanwhile, the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog is urging the FTC to file suit against the search giant. "The fully developed public record that would result from a trial would ensure that effective remedies could be put in place," the group says in a letter sent today to the FTC.

 

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