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Google Settles With FTC, Must Apply Search Changes

By - Source: CNET | B 9 comments

A favorable settlement for Google as FTC concludes the company didn't violate anti-trust laws in the search market.

Google and the Federal Trade Commission today announced that the two had settled an antitrust investigation into Google's business practices. The investigation covered both Google's search practices and the company's filing of injunction requests against competitors it claim infringe upon patents it acquired through the purchase of Motorola.

Under the settlement, Google will have to provide competitors with access to patents that cover standardized technologies (aka standard essential patents) for smartphones, laptops and tablets on "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms." The FTC referenced the patents acquired by Google in its acquisition of Motorola, describing them as 'essential to industry standards.' Google acquired Motorola Mobility last year for over $12 billion and in the process gained access to its portfolio of over 24,000 patents and patent applications. 

As far as search is concerned, the FTC was investigating allegations that Google had manipulated search results to promote its own services. Under particularly scrutiny was Google's "Universal Search" feature. The Federal Trade Commission noted that after an extensive investigation, it found Google had not acted unfairly.

" [...] the FTC concluded that the introduction of Universal Search, as well as additional changes made to Google’s search algorithms – even those that may have had the effect of harming individual competitors – could be plausibly justified as innovations that improved Google’s product and the experience of its users. It therefore has chosen to close the investigation," the FTC said in a statement.

This week's settlement also covered AdWords, and Google will be making some changes to the way it does things in that regard. The FTC settlement will see Google remove restrictions it had in place for using its online search advertising platform. These restrictions made it more difficult for users to coordinate online ad campaigns across AdWords and other competing platforms.

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  • 16 Hide
    everygamer , January 5, 2013 1:58 PM
    Apple has been suing people for years over patents ... and then Google jumps into the fray and within weeks the FTC is all over Google, and Google has to allow other industry companies access to its patents for "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms." Basically this means they have to pay Google $$.

    So the question I have to ask, is with Apple and Samsung both going at it for the last 2 years, why hasn't the FTC got involved and done the same with the both of them. Seriously, if its this easy for the FTC to step in and basically cut down on the litigation going on, why is it sitting on its hands with other companies.
  • 13 Hide
    nieur , January 5, 2013 12:20 PM
    Should they promote competitors services?

Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    nieur , January 5, 2013 12:20 PM
    Should they promote competitors services?

  • 16 Hide
    everygamer , January 5, 2013 1:58 PM
    Apple has been suing people for years over patents ... and then Google jumps into the fray and within weeks the FTC is all over Google, and Google has to allow other industry companies access to its patents for "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms." Basically this means they have to pay Google $$.

    So the question I have to ask, is with Apple and Samsung both going at it for the last 2 years, why hasn't the FTC got involved and done the same with the both of them. Seriously, if its this easy for the FTC to step in and basically cut down on the litigation going on, why is it sitting on its hands with other companies.
  • 1 Hide
    in_the_loop , January 5, 2013 2:48 PM
    @everygamer
    As said in the article :
    "to provide competitors with access to patents that cover standardized technologies (aka standard essential patents)"
    The FTC doesn't seem to think that Apples and Samsungs patents are standard essential patents.

  • 3 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 5, 2013 3:13 PM
    nieurShould they promote competitors services?


    You should also ask Apple...
  • 7 Hide
    zeratul600 , January 5, 2013 4:43 PM
    in_the_loop@everygamerAs said in the article : "to provide competitors with access to patents that cover standardized technologies (aka standard essential patents)"The FTC doesn't seem to think that Apples and Samsungs patents are standard essential patents.

    in_the_loop@everygamerAs said in the article : "to provide competitors with access to patents that cover standardized technologies (aka standard essential patents)"The FTC doesn't seem to think that Apples and Samsungs patents are standard essential patents.

    So squared phones with rounded edges, and screen manipulation like good old scifi shows re someway no not essential, good luck to those guys pressing a damn magnifying glass or with their triangle shaped phones!
  • -2 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , January 5, 2013 6:57 PM
    Google should have said hey if you don't like it go to bing. lol
  • -4 Hide
    JohnMD1022 , January 6, 2013 12:03 AM
    " President Obama's campaign is getting financial help from people associated with two big tech firms: Microsoft and Google.

    Following the University of California, those companies were listed as the second and third top contributors to his re-election campaign "
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57503053-38/microsoft-google-folks-are-top-sources-for-obama-funds/

    Any questions?
  • 0 Hide
    ccovemaker , January 6, 2013 5:38 AM
    JohnMD1022" President Obama's campaign is getting financial help from people associated with two big tech firms: Microsoft and Google.Following the University of California, those companies were listed as the second and third top contributors to his re-election campaign "http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3- [...] ama-funds/Any questions?


    Didn't seem to pan out to be a very good investment in that case John.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , January 7, 2013 2:33 PM
    The article title, doesn't match its contents. At a glance it looks like Google was forced by the FTC into changing its search results, but that is not the case.

    As a side note, it does smell funny that the FTC would jump Google's a$$ and force them into releasing their Motorola acquired patents, but not do the same with Apple's "We own the rectangle" moto....
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