So, yesterday the FTC opted out of throwing the book at Google. Instead, it waggled its finger in an admonishing fashion–Bad Google! Naughty Google!–and Google promised that it would change its nefarious ways. So, are we surprised by the FTC’s verdict?
Nah, why should we be? The NYT points out just how much work Google was doing behind the scenes on the political front. (Is that a mixed metaphor I see before me?), while TNW’s Alex Wilhelm points to a Politico report that the search engine firm spent $25 million on lobbying during the FTC’s investigation. With tech firms wise to the fact that a little bit of Washington influence can lead to a lot of leeway–Facebook has a former FTC chair representing their interests on the Hill–Google’s lobbying spend and influence in Washington has long been a focus for both consumer watchdogs and tech watchers alike.
So, a win for Google. And, according to Dan Lyons, the result was an epic fail for Microsoft, whose failure to persuade the regulators to go for the jugular and do Google in the same way that they did for Microsoft a decade earlier, ending the firm’s global dominance in software and setting the scene for its decline. Still, Redmond, you’ve always got Europe.