Google faces FTC ultimatum over patent and search abuse

Bloomberg reports that Google is facing an ultimatum from FTC on antitrust deal talks. Apparently, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jonathan Leibowitz is pressuring Google to make an offer and finally settle FTC’s antitrust investigation over whether the dominant search engine abused its market power in search and misused patent protection in smartphone wars. And should Google fail to “make an acceptable settlement proposal”, sources say, the FTC is prepared to mount a massive case against the search giant whose “Don’t be evil” motto has long become the subject of mockery…

Sara Forden, reporting for Bloomberg:

Google has been engaged in discussions with the agency for about two weeks and hasn’t put any remedy proposals on the table, said the people, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private.

Unless the search Goliath complies in the next few days, two people familiar with the situation said, it will face a formal complaint.

It gets worse.

The FTC has told Google it won’t accept a resolution short of a consent decree and is prepared to take action in the next week or two, one of the people said.

Make no mistake about it, the government won’t release Google off the hook and consequences could be more damaging for the Mountain View, California-headquartered company than first thought.

FTC took issue with Google prioritizing its services in search rankings, for signing exclusive agreements to provide search services to online publishers and for making it difficult for advertisers to compare Google campaigns to those on competing search platforms.

And this helps explain why Google has been tiring of patent wars lately.

The staff has also recommended the agency issue a complaint against Google for misusing patent protections to block rivals’ smartphones from coming to market, the people have said.

If you’re wondering why post this here on iDB, bear in mind that this is huge news, one that could drastically change Google as we know it.

What do you think of the development?