The FTC has been threatening with a lawsuit in the hopes of getting a settlement
It seems that Google is a better poker player than the US government. The Federal Trade Commission has been looking to get something, anything on Google for years now. Each acquisition was meticulously analyzed, only to be approved in the end.In the last year, there have been plenty of reports of the FTC looking to sue Google over antitrust issues.
Granted, those issues changed over time, first it was about search, then about ads, more recently about Motorola, owned by Google for a few months, suing other companies over patents, which is ironic to say the least.
All of these recent reports cited sources inside the FTC, but these were innocent leaks, they were a veiled threat at Google.
The hope was that Google would agree to settle with the FTC, enabling the FTC to score a public "victory" while not actually doing anything against Google.
The reason the FTC wanted to settle with Google is because it knew it couldn't win any lawsuit since it had no actual evidence of any wrongdoing.
But Google has called the FTC's bluff and hasn't agreed to settle anything out of court.
Bloomberg, the source of the other reports, is now saying that the FTC believes it can't prove that Google manipulates its search results to bolster its own properties to the detriment of consumers.
Which isn't that surprising since it's pretty obvious that Google's search rankings are not detrimental to user choice simply because if they were, people would switch search engines.
The fact that Google's search share is growing and not shrinking should be evidence enough that people are satisfied with the search engine.
The FTC is supposed to vote on whether to go ahead with legal action against Google by the end of the month, so we should know soon enough whether Google gets sued or not.