Feeds

Google 'wants to dodge consent decree' in any FTC antitrust deal

Choc Factory reportedly trying for a wink and a handshake on antitrust probe

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google is rumoured to be trying to persuade the Federal Trade Commission that it hasn't broken any antitrust laws and that any agreement it makes with the agency isn't bound by a consent decree.

The Chocolate Factory is looking for a light wrist-slap for its alleged search market dominance as the agency finishes up its 19-month probe of the firm's alleged monopoly.

The FTC and Google have been negotiating a settlement for the last week, and Mountain View wants that agreement to be an informal handshake sort of deal, not a formal beatdown that might hurt its business, familiar people whispered to Bloomberg.

Apparently, Google chairman Eric Schmidt was spotted with the head of the company's Washington office on Capitol Hill yesterday and chief Larry Page was also in town to meet with FTC officials.

The FTC, however, is pushing for Google to fix all of the issues the agency has with the firm's search engine or face a lawsuit, other familiar anonymous people said earlier this month, and wants the full decree.

Google's search business has been blamed for exclusive agreements with online publishers, ranking its own results higher than rivals' offerings, using customer reviews from other sites without permission and generally smiting competition whenever it can.

The internet giant is currently in talks with EU officials as well as the FTC to explain and sort out the allegations.

EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia has said that he's due to meet with FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz next week.

Meanwhile, federal regulators are also getting interested in how standards-essential patents (SEP) are being used by Android manufacturers to effectively protect Google's share of the mobile market.

The FTC has been looking into patents as part of its antitrust probe and the question is whether the commission can demand a settlement from Google on Android under the umbrella of unfair competition.

Patent cases are already being argued through the courts and the International Trade Commission in the US and the newest FTC commissioner, Republican Maureen Ohlhausen, has said in a separate probe that she's unsure the agency has jurisdiction to hand out decrees on patent litigation.

However the commission majority said that in "appropriate cases" it would challenge whether using SEP to get bans on products constituted unfair competition. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.