FTC and Google reach settlement on antitrust investigation

January 3, 2013
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As expected today, the FTC has brought their investigation to a close regarding good old Google. The folks from Mountain View reached a settlement and as a result will not face any fines. After a nearly 2-year investigation into the mobile and search giants operations, mainly with search and unfair practices, things are finally reaching a close and Google can move on.

The biggest part of the entire investigation was around Google Search and how they "prioritize" the search results. Claiming unfair practices were giving Google and their ad partners the benefit in this situation. The second half of the investigation was regarding Google's recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Stating Google had brought injunctions against devices or manufacturers that were believed to infringed upon standards-essential patents owned by Motorola.

Today the FTC announced the settlement, and concluded that Google's agreed to essentially "change their ways." And that Google will halt the sales ban on devices infringing on their newly acquired Motorola patents. Don't worry however, Google's Motorola patents can still be put to good use. Now they just have to willingly agree and work with those who want to license said patents, rather than hold out and seek injunctions. Here's a quick quote from the FTC:

"To remedy this concern, Google has agreed to a Consent Order that prohibits it from seeking injunctions against a willing licensee, either in federal court or at the ITC, to block the use of any standard-essential patents that the company has previously committed to license on FRAND terms."

As far as search results go, Google's used Yelp review as their own (according to claims) and regulates and moderates search results to their own benefit at times. Mind you these are just allegations. Many competitors have asked the FTC to step in and regulate Google's popular and very excellent search algorithms. In a win for Google the FTC declined to do so, and in the end based on an unanimous vote they've closed the investigation into Google Search.

So in the end they did settle to remove online ad restrictions, as well as license standard-essential Motorola patents to rivals without the threat of injunctions. More details are available from the via below.

[via FTC]


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