Google Close to Getting Away Scot-Free in FTC Investigation, Search Issues Dropped Already

The FTC hasn't been able to come up with much to charge Google with

Google is very close to making a clean escape from an FTC investigation. The government has been looking to sue Google over antitrust issues, or more likely get a settlement, for over two years. So far though, the investigation hasn't come up with much.

The key issue was over search, i.e. whether Google was abusing its position as market leader to push out competitors in maps, travel and so on.

Plenty of companies have been complaining that Google is propping up its own products to the detriment of others.

The counterargument, of course, is that even if it did place its own products higher than competing ones, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing or anti-consumer.

The FTC knew it had nothing and made a few veiled threats, via leaks to the press, but in the end didn't scare Google. It now seems that the search issue is completely off the table.

Google did agree to make some changes though. For one, it won't be including reviews and summaries from restaurant or review sites.

It had already stopped doing that in its place pages and will probably do the same in search results.

Google will also make it possible for advertisers to export entire campaigns, including all the data associated with them. This was another of the big issues the FTC was investigating, the only one that seemed likely to get Google into some trouble.

All that's left at the negotiating table is the patent issue. This is a late addition to the investigation and for good reason, this is actually Motorola's battle, not Google's. Motorola sued several companies over their use of some patents.

Those patents are essential to standard technologies, like WiFi, and are supposed to be licensed under "fair" terms. But Motorola sued several companies to try to get more money for licensing the patents.

Google continued the lawsuits, which is why the FTC got involved. But this is hardly Google's wrongdoing and the company is very likely to drop the lawsuits anyway.

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