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Did Google Price Gouge Microsoft?

The government is investigating whether Google illegally increased ad rates 50-fold on rival Microsoft, a single source tells Bloomberg Businessweek. "The Federal Trade Commission is probing the increase, along with other allegations against Google related to advertising, as a result of complaints from Microsoft." The complaints are being handled as part of a larger antitrust probe into Google that began earlier this year, and about which little is still known.

"If true, the Microsoft allegations could be used to help the FTC build a case showing that Google abused its power as the owner of the world's most popular search engine, violating the Sherman Act and other antitrust laws," writes Bloomberg Businessweek, citing comments from Andre Barlow, an antitrust lawyer at Doyle, Barlow & Mazard PLLC.

"A lot of this conduct, when put together with a firm with market power, could be viewed as a violation" of antitrust laws, said Barlow. Per its investigation, the FTC is likely to consider the motives for the accusations by Microsoft, Barlow added.



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