Cramdown Part 1: Google Attemps to Use FTC “Non-Settlement” As an Antitrust Cramdown for Unrelated State Cases

This story is evolving, but Google is desperately trying to force the FTC to close–as in closed and never to return–one of the long standing investigations into Google’s more odious business practices by the end of this week.

And here’s the kicker–not with a consent decree imposing terms on the rogue company, but with a “letter” that is non-binding “letter” from Google to the FTC saying what Google thinks it could improve upon, kind of like a participation medal for showing up or an amends letter in a 12 step program.  Rumors that the “letter” is actually an amends letter from the FTC to Google are considered to be marginally overrated, but cannot be ruled out completely.  (Remember that Google is getting their very own FTC Commissioner, Joshua Wright, appointed very soon.  Wright has agreed to recuse himself from ruling on Google cases for two years–oh, goodie.  Can you say “agency capture.”)

This “thank you for playing” letter from Google is considered a controversial end to the two year investigation, but it avoids three of Google’s shared goals with the FTC:  It’s nonbinding, actually rewards Google for its allegedly bad behavior, and eliminates formal public comment.  In other Google words, a very Googlely end to a sad tale of anticompetitive behavior trumped up by the shadowy enemies of innovation and the Progress State.  Time for a cupcake and hugs!  Good boys get to drive the cars and–you know–take some “pictures”, get it?!

FTC Parking Lot

But not only is Google using its political muscle and crony capitalism to cram its will down the throats of the Federal Trade Commission, it is also seeking to do the same with all the state investigations currently pending to wrap up all its problems before the Inauguration and before Joshua Wright, Google’s member of the FTC starts his term.

Yes, the several state attorneys general pursuing cases, including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott evidently received calls last night saying, “We’re from Washington, and we’re here to help.”  The rumor that the Texas AG told the FTC that Texas Rangers would be happy to meet the Googlers at the Austin-Bergstrom Airport to show them the next flight out were probably slightly exaggerated.  It would probably have been just the one Ranger who would have waived, “Enjoy your visit!”

It’s a great airport, they would have fun getting a plate of Salt Lick and a Shiner.  I bet General Abbott could even arrange to have them take it on the plane if they didn’t finish them good eats.

Hook ’em.

It is NOT about the cheese
It is NOT about the cheese