The biggest tech news this week is: Google is safe.
Of course, from a business perspective, Google never looked endangered in the first place. The company has close to 70 percent
of the US search market, and pushes 90 percent in some parts of Europe; in mobile search, it utterly dominates
, with around 98 percent. Google's market share in the US would surely be even higher but for all of the computers pre-installed with Microsoft software.
When a company gets that big, its biggest threat starts to come not from its competitors—who, at least in the Web search business, are few—but from governments, or big public-relations slip-ups. "We’ve always accepted that with success comes regulatory scrutiny" was Google's very diplomatic way of describing
that predicament yesterday.
Now the FTC's antitrust investigation is over, with no charges brought, and some quite minor changes to Google's business practices. On the patent front, Google will make a sacrifice that's more substantial—but still doesn't outweigh the enormous benefits of being "in the clear" as far as the feds are concerned.