US authorities 'racing' to settle probe into Google's 'dominance in search results'

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 03, 2013 07:40 hrs

The US authorities are racing to settle nearly two years-old investigation into claims that Google intentionally manipulates search results to harm competitors.

According to people familiar with the matter the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will try to settle the antitrust probe this week before the departure of a long-term, swing-vote commissioner.

Sources claimed that the settlement would be along the lines of an agreement brokered between the commission and Google in December that requires Google to sign a consent decree over its use of standards essential patents against rivals, but otherwise get away with only voluntary changes to its business practices regarding search advertising and use

According to Politico, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz is said to be pushing the case to a speedy conclusion before the departure of Commissioner Tom Rosch whose replacement, Joshua Wright, was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday.

For nearly two years, Google has been investigated by both the FTC and the European Union on a variety of antitrust allegations.

The biggest of those is whether the world's dominant search engine engages in anti-competitive behavior by manipulating results to shunt users unknowingly toward Google-owned properties for shopping, travel and other services.

According to the report, sources have said the FTC is poised to settle with Google with a voluntary settlement agreement.

The FTC can enforce any violation of the voluntary settlement under fair trade practice provisions of the FTC Act, the report added. (ANI)

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