Google and FTC could be close to antitrust settlement

Google, like its iOS maps users, may have a finally have a clear direction out of trouble
Google may finally have a clear path out of trouble

The Google antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is nearing an end, according to reports that suggest the company will walk away largely unscathed.

The search engine giant is said to be facing voluntary changes to the way it runs its search business, says Politico, not a more damaging "consent decree" enforced by the FTC.

Such a non-binding agreement could end Google's use of restaurant and travel reviews snippets from other websites and make it easier for AdWords customers to port their ad campaigns to competitors.

These minor changes would come to the chagrin of Microsoft and search engine competitors that have been pressing the FTC to take action against the Mountain View-based company.

Settlement by the end of the year

Google has been accused by its rivals of operating a monopoly and unfairly using its search algorithms to promote its own businesses over the steamed competitors.

This sparked a drawn-out two-year antitrust investigation by federal regulators, which will conclude by the end of the year, according to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz.

The FTC has a similar timetable for a settlement that will rule on how Google can use its newly acquired Motorola patents.

Google stock price increases

The FTC didn't respond to TechRadar before publication, while Google said, "We continue to work cooperatively with the Federal Trade Commission and are happy to answer any questions they may have."

Investors responded more dynamically today, raising Google's stock price 18.82 points for a 2.68 percent gain.

This continues Google's five-day uptick in its stock's value, which is now over $720 a share and up 5.16 percent.

In addition to positive reports about the impending FTC settlement, the company's stock spike is likely tied to the Google Maps iOS app launch, which was downloaded 10 million time in 48 hours.

Via Politico

Matt Swider