FTC Finds Google Does Not Unfairly Favor its Own Services

Thursday, 3 Jan 2013 | 12:25 PM ET

Source: google.com

The Federal Trade Commission closed its investigation against Google for antitrust violations Thursday.

For almost two years, the FTC has been investigating Google for various business practices, primarily concerning how the company displays search results. The FTC has also looked into Google's practices regarding technology licensing.

Google has been criticized for promoting search results for its own services over its competitors.

Many of Google's competitors wanted Google to change its alogorithm for search results, however, the FTC did not find that its practices for search results violated American law, said Jon Leibowitz, the chairman of the FTC at a press conference.

The trade agency investigated extensively Google's 'Universal Search' product, which prominently displays Google services that fall into certain categories, like shopping or local. But the agency found that the algorithms for 'Universal Search' could be "justified as innovations that improved Google's product and the experience of its users," therefore, it was not in violation of any law.

Google to Modify Search After US Probe
Google on Thursday ended a long slog with the FTC. Stephen Pociask, American Consumer Institute, weighs in on CNBC.

Google, however, did agree to change some of its business practices regarding technology licenses, Leibowitz said. The company cannot seek injunctions to block competitors from using necessary patents for "key technologies," according to the FTC statement.

"Google will meet its prior commitments to allow competitors access – on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms – to patents on critical standardized technologies needed to make popular devices such as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles," the FTC said in a statement.

Google has also agreed to change some of its ad practices.

The tech giant will remove restrictions on its ad platform, AdWords, that made it difficult for advertisers to manage ad campaigns across competing platforms.

  Price   Change %Change


Contact Technology


    Get the best of CNBC in your inbox

    › Learn More
  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.