Federal Trade Commission has been after Google for quite a while. The agency is focused on the allegations that Google is using its influence in the online search arena to push forth its other products and services which harms other competitors in the market. Google has been reluctant in giving any concessions on that front and now, FTC has started drafting a formal antitrust case against the search giant.
Google has been at the bore of FTC’s canons for quite some while. The company is also facing antitrust investigations in Europe over similar charges. A number of Google’s rivals have complained that the company uses its influential position to affect the traffic that goes from its search results to its other services or product pages.
For instance, NexTag is a comparison shopping service which accuses that ever since Google started offering its own shopping service, it has cut down the traffic being routed to NexTag’s website. This, NexTag claims, is an intentional move by Google to cut down the profits of its competitors and is against fair competition in an open market.
FTC has been looking into these allegations for a long time now and negotiations between the agency and Google have been ongoing. However, so far, these negotiations haven’t resulted in something concrete. According to people close to the inquiry, the agency has now prepared a memo of more than 100 pages which provides recommendations as to how to sue the search giant.
While a step as drastic as that is quite unlikely, what is more probable is that as FTC mounts the pressure on Google, the company will be forced to make concessions and come to a suitable settlement with the agency. This settlement would essentially involve providing a fair space for all competitors by displaying their search results indiscriminately.
If this does happen, it would be a great news for Google’s competitors. Google recently offered European competition commissioner that it would flag results from its own services so that the users become aware of them. While that’s a step in the right direction, that may still be too inadequate for the regulators who want Google to do much more than that.
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