Photo: Robert Scoble via flickr
Google Inc. is being pressed by U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jonathan Leibowitz to make an offer to settle the agency’s antitrust investigation in the next few days or face a formal complaint, two people familiar with the situation said.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.
For almost 20 months, the FTC has been probing whether Mountain View, California-based Google is abusing its dominance of the Internet and it’s prepared to file a case against the operator of the world’s largest search engine if the company fails to make an acceptable settlement proposal, the people said.
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.
“We continue to work cooperatively with the Federal Trade Commission and are happy to answer any questions they may have,” Adam Kovacevich, a spokesman for Google, said in an e- mail.
FTC investigators have recommended the agency issue a complaint against Google for ranking its own services higher than those of competitors, for signing exclusive agreements to provide search services to online publishers and for making it difficult for advertisers to compare data about campaigns running on rival sites by Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Bing, people familiar with the investigation have said.
The staff has also recommended the agency issue a complaint against Google for misusing patent protections to bloc rivals’ smartphones from coming to market, the people have said.
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