Google Quiet About $500 Million Charge for Possible Settlement

Written on
May 11, 2011 
Gavin Dunaway  |

slapADOTAS – Shake your head over the E.U.’s regulatory swipes at Google, but the U.S. government seems to be giving Big G just as hard a time. According to a Securities Exchange Commission filing, Google taken a $500 million charge in regards to a possible settlement with the Justice Department over an investigation into its advertising practices.

Hard details are scarce and Google doesn’t feel like chatting about it. All we know is what is in the Form 10-Q:

“In May 2011, in connection with a potential resolution of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice into the use of Google advertising by certain advertisers, we accrued $500 million for the three month period ended March 31, 2011. Although we cannot predict the ultimate outcome of this matter, we believe it will not have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows.”

Well, that’s nice and vague. No doubt Google reps are going to be harassed about it at the I/O conference currently taking place. Why do you want to hear about that boring legal stuff? Look at our new music service! Check out the updated Android OS — it’s called Ice Cream Sandwich! Isn’t that cute?

Maybe the U.S. Justice Department doesn’t see why the Federal Trade Commission gets to have all the regulatory fun. In addition to an intensifying anti-trust investigation over Google’s search business, the FTC recently initiated privacy audits of the company as a part of settlement for privacy violations surrounding the launch of the Buzz social network.

Half a billion smackers may seem like a lot to publishing schmoes like me, but Google took in $8.3 billion in advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2011. I’m not even going to bother opening the case for the world’s tiniest violin.

Gavin Dunaway is Editor, U.S. at AdMonsters, a leading trade publication, event producer and service provider for the online advertising industry. Previously, he had been Senior Editor of Adotas, where he arrived after years of ping-ponging around various industry publications. This Washington, D.C. native and George Mason University graduate also enjoys playing electric guitar so loud that the walls shake.

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