Google's book search faces antitrust concerns

Google (GOOG) seems to be the market share leader in almost every business it enters, from search to mapping. Of course, its online payment offering has never taken much business from PayPal. But as is the case with most companies that have a lot of power over any industry, antitrust regulators lurk around every corner.

It looks like Google will face more scrutiny about the way its does business, just as other market leaders in their respective industries such as Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) did before it.

The current complaint is that Google's plan to scan books so that they can be searched is not fair to authors or some publishers. Google reached an agreement with the groups, but the government is concerned that the search engine company got too good a deal. According to The Wall Street Journal, "The Department of Justice is looking into whether Google Inc.'s proposed book-search settlement with authors and publishers violates antitrust laws."

Google had better get used to this sort of claim. It has the combination of the power to dominate markets and a lot of cash on hand. Government authorities like to challenge the dominance, and competitors like to bring legal claims that target the cash.

For a company as large as Google has become in several large markets, defending antitrust allegations is part of the cost of doing business.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.


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