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Wednesday, 19 December 2012 10:10

Google close to deal with FTC

Written by Nick Farrell



Will not have to do a thing


It is starting to look like Google’s brush with US anti-trust regulators is not going to go anywhere. While the search outfit is having to face the music when it comes to its moves stifle competition in the EU, it seems that the US anti-trust regulators are less interested.

Word on the street is that Google is near a US antitrust settlement which would see the search giant escape without penalty or punishment. In return for the FTC going away, Google will conceding greater transparency and agreeing not to scrape content for its index. Advertisers would be able to compare Google advertising campaigns with how those run through other search sites performed. Google has also promised that it would not copy the content of other sites without their prior permission.

The concessions are voluntary and Google will not have to face a trial or financial settlement. Google’s rivals are very cross about the rumours. Microsoft, Yelp, and Expedia all complained vocally about Google’s actions. Fairsearch, which is a pressure group with members including Microsoft, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Nokia, and Oracle, said that enforcement authorities should not allow Google to retain an unfair advantage in the market gained through years of anti-competitive behaviour.

If the FTC fails to take meaningful action after a nearly two-year investigation, Google will only be emboldened to act in ways that are more harmful to consumers and innovators, a spokesman said.

Nick Farrell

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