FTC closes Google investigation

The internet search giant agreed to make changes to its search practices.

New Statesman
Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Credit: Getty Images.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has officially closed its 21-month long antitrust investigation of Google without imposing any restrictions on the company’s search business.

However, the agency suggested Google to make significant changes in its business practices.

Under a settlement reached with the FTC, Google will meet its prior commitments to allow competitors access to patents on critical standardized technologies needed to make popular devices such as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles.

Jon Leibowitz, chairman of FTC, told the Financial Times that the agency’s commissioners had voted unanimously not to sue Google over its search business after concluding that it had valid reasons to promote its own information services.

“Although some evidence suggested Google was trying to eliminate competition, Google’s primary purpose . . . was to improve the user experience,” Leibowitz added.

David Balto, a former assistant director of competition policy at the FTC told the Financial Times: “This lifts a cloud off Google that will mean they can compete more aggressively.”

“The FTC’s action makes it clear Google’s actions don’t harm consumers. This closes the book on search,” Balto added.