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Consumer Watchdog Urges Regulators To Block Google’s Purchase of Frommer’s Travel Guides

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Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm

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Consumer Watchdog Urges Regulators To Block Google’s Purchase of Frommer’s Travel Guides

SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on federal antitrust regulators to block Google’s purchase of Frommer’s travel guides.

“There is a fundamental conflict between being a search provider and a content provider,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project Director.  “As Google has increased its content and services, it has unfairly favored them in its search results and damaged competitors.”

A Consumer Watchdog study, Traffic Report: How Google is Squeezing out Competitors and Muscling Into New Markets, demonstrated how Google favors its own products and services in Universal Search. Read the study here: http://insidegoogle.com/2010/06/google-using-search-engine-to-muscle-into-internet-businesses-study-finds-2/

Google is under investigation for antitrust violations by the Federal Trade Commission, European Antitrust authorities, India, Brazil and Texas.  “With this deal Google executives are thumbing their noses at these regulators,” said Simpson.

“It makes absolutely no sense to approve this deal,” said Simpson. “And, if it is allowed with conditions, there is absolutely no reason to believe the Internet giant will live up to it’s word.”

Google has repeated demonstrated it does not honor its promises, Consumer Watchdog said.

“They were just fined a record $22.5 million by the FTC for violating a consent degree and hacking around privacy settings on iPhones, iPads and Apple computers,” said Simpson. “They were lying to consumers about what they were doing.”

The Department of Justice and the FTC alternate on examining acquisitions for antitrust concerns.  It’s not clear which agency would vet the Frommer’s deal.

“What’s important,” said Simpson, “is that it’s blocked.

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This post was written by:

John M. Simpson

- who has written 349 posts on Inside Google.

John M. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations this year of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements triggered intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the online giant’s business practices. His critique of patents on human embryonic stem cells has been key to expanding the ability of American scientists to conduct stem cell research. He has ensured that California’s taxpayer-funded stem cell research will lead to broadly accessible and affordable medicine and not just government-subsidized profiteering. Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog in 2005, he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. Before that, he was deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition. Simpson taught journalism a Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum. He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and was a Gannett Fellow at the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He has an M.A. in Communication Management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication.

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