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Jared Polis: FTC should not overrgulate the online tech industry

For many startups and small businesses, Google is one of the main driving forces in deciding whether or not these smaller-timers succeed.  At least that’s what Congressman Jared Polis is saying.

The FTC is currently investigating Google’s business practices, and if it turns out there’s something fishy then there may be a huge antitrust case against the search giant.

Polis, a self-proclaimed “high-tech entrepreneur”, cautions the FTC to not overregulate the tech industry, especially when it comes to a company that’s dynamic like Google.

We all know Google’s presence in the tech industry via its search engine, but search is not the only thing that Google is developing and deploying.  Take for instance, Google Maps is very popular among people who are looking for driving directions, geo-locations, and even a visual tour of the site that is of interest. 

In Polis’ letter to the FTC’s Chairman Jon Leibowitz, he claims that Google has helped small businesses grow through the search engine’s advertising tools.  Polis also credits Google for its indirect involvement in helping people to obtain jobs, because more jobs become available when businesses grow.

(Congressman Jared Polis among his constituents)

“Google’s advertising tools…help grow our business and reach new customers around the world, generating hundreds of new jobs,” Polis says in his letter. “I’ve seen firsthand Google’s economic impact on my state: in 2011, Google helped generate $1.4 billion of economic activity for Colorado businesses, website publishers and nonprofits.”

According to Polis, his constituents have never complained about the lack of choices when it comes to online services.  So instead of regulations via the FTC or other government agencies, Polis believes that consumers can protect themselves—especially when it comes to tech companies that have a lot of online presences.

“I have never heard on of my constituents say that they don’t feel like they have enough choices online, or that they feel locked in to using any of these services.  Competition among these services is leading to lots of great services for consumers—and consumers aren’t asking congress or the FTC to protect them.  Quite to the contrary consumers demand the rapid pace of progress and change that has become the norm on the internet.”

Furthermore, Polis doesn’t want the FTC “overregulate Internet content,” because consumers drive the economy and they should get to decide what stays and what goes.  Polis pointed out the rather inefective PIPA/SOPA proposals from a year earlier to make his case against government intervention in online businesses. 

“Today’s giant can be tomorrow’s failure without any government intervention; market forces drive obsolescence at a break neck pace which should only further abrogated the need for government intervention,” he says.

Adding to his argument, Polis pointed out that firms such as AOL, MySpace, and Yahoo were all considered “dominant” in the past, but look at where they’re at now.  The online tech industry is constantly evolving, and consumers decide what’s hot and what’s not.

“Consumers can switch to a new service with just one click,” Polis concluded.

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