Google Makes A Deal With The FTC To End Antitrust Probe

Posted Jan 3, 2013

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Google has not violated any antitrust laws.  However the company has agreed to make some changes in how rivals are treated.  The antitrust probe has been going on for the last 19 months.  The FTC’s investigation was specifically focused on whether Google abused their dominance in Internet search.  Google’s rivals complained that the company highlights their own services and burying the results to competing websites.

Google defended the right for them to recommend websites for what they believe is the most relevant.  The Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously to close the investigation on whether Google’s algorithms unfairly favored themselves because there was no evidence that Google had violated antitrust laws.

“Although some evidence suggested that Google was trying to eliminate competition, Google’s primary reason for changing the look and feel of its search results to highlight its own products was to improve the user experience,” stated FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz.  Google is also being investigated for abusing patent protection against companies like Apple.  Google is agreeing to license patents that are considered “essential” for rival devices like the Apple iPhone and the Apple iPad.

Google is also promising to exclude snippets copied from other websites in the summaries of key information.  Google still insists that this practice is legal under the fair-use provisions in U.S. copyright law though.

[Source: CBS]