1. Google’s Antitrust Investigation
In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission wrapped up a two-year investigation into Google, after deciding unanimously that Google wasn’t violating any antitrust laws. Now, the US Department of Justice is preparing for their own antitrust investigation of Google. This comes at a time when Silicon Valley’s tech giants are being scrutinized in the US. The DOJ is planning to examine Google’s search practices and other affiliated businesses. Google has already faced a $1.7B fine from the European Commission for “abusive” online ad practices, by restricting its rivals from placing their search ads on third-party websites. After the EU announced the fine, President Donald Trump tweeted, “I told you so.” In February 2018, Trump admitted to being open to investigating into big tech companies, which aligns with other leader’s viewpoints, such as Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder, who called for the breakup of the company he helped create. This investigation could coincide with recent bipartisan criticism over Google, Facebook and Amazon. There is talk to break up the firms as a big discussion point for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race.
2. North Face Commits Foul Play
Clothing firm The North Face cried foul after their Brazilian office and agency Leo Burnett Tailor Made carried out a surprising publicity stunt. The brand and agency worked together to trek to famous remote locations across the world to take pictures of athletes wearing The North Face clothing. Afterwards, the team edited Wikipedia pages for these famous outdoor tourism destinations and added these photos so the brand would appear in the top of Google image search results. Wikipedia wasn’t happy, stating the pages were “unethically manipulated” and violated their rules. North Face said ‘my bad’, adding “we believe deeply in Wikipedia’s mission” and then quickly ended the campaign. North Face used these images to make its products more prominent in Google results, posting a video that boasted about its boost in search engine rankings, while not paying a dime. “What they did was akin to defacing public property,” said the Foundation. “Adding content that is solely for commercial promotion goes directly against the policies, purpose, and mission of Wikipedia to provide neutral, fact-based knowledge to the world.”
3. The End of iTunes?
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is in full swing. CEO Tim Cook and other leaders will conduct keynote presentations to unveil updates around Apple’s operating systems and a new approach to apps. One rumor is the shutdown of iTunes. Apple has already cleared out its Facebook and Instagram pages and MacRumors believes all of this content will be migrated to their Apple TV counterparts. Back in April, it was suggested that this breakup’s purpose was to make room for separate apps for Music, Podcasts, and TV. Read about more expected changes here.