wrldtrv - 2:07 pm on Dec 26, 2011 (gmt 0)
Your local grocery store has the right to promote whatever gives them highest profit. But they still show other brands right next to it, because otherwise their customers would not come. You do not find "store brands" at the front of the store, and "other equivalent brands" at some obscure hidden isle a mile by foot away. (The equivalence to Google showing themselves and people that pay them on the first pages, and "others" down on pages 4-100).
In theory Google has a right to do what they want, except that Google's entire search business is based on showing content "lifted" from unrelated copyright owners. No one goes to Google search "to see some good ads". They go there to find valid and unbiased references to real content.
(Note again that using other people's copyrighted content to attract users would be called theft if not done by a search engine with valid content prioritization.)
As Google prioritize their own products more and more, and send less and less valid visitors to other sites, they get themselves excluded from even being allowed to visit many web-sites. As a site owner, why would I pay good network and server bandwidth to provide Google with free content for their search pages, if Google is not a significant source of "human" traffic? Which in the end would be a downer on their search and advertising business. Who would want to visit or even show ads on a search engine missing large parts of the Internet's "good" content.
I get all that. I'm not arguing what would make a 'better' google. Just arguing legality with regards to the antitrust investigation. Sure, Google would be just another spam search engine if they only showed their own results. Just not sure hows that's illegal. Interested to see what happens.