It's been reported that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be officially ending their investigation into Google Incorporated's alleged antitrust violations that included blocking patent licensing to their competitors.
The investigation came after competitors accused Google of blocking competition by using their popular search engine to direct users to their products, which includes shopping, travel and directions. The company was also being investigated for purposely refusing patent licensing for other competing mobile-devices and accusations that the company somehow blocked a competitor’s access to their Android wireless operating system.
It was recently reported that Google will be working with the FTC to officially end the investigation and make some recommended changes in how they operate. These voluntary changes were reported to begin this week and may include things such as ending targeted advertisements and how the search feature works with sales competitors.
It appeared early on that the FTC did not have enough evidence on Google to go forward with any anti-trust lawsuit. Nevertheless, Google felt the investigation was worrisome enough that they will be making the changes to avoid any future allegations. It has also been reported that the FTC's probe into Google’s licensing of mobile-technology patents will be negotiated and changed as well. Google will be working more closely with their competitors and make it easier for them to be granted a license on patents they hold from the acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
This latest announcement came after the recent complaints by Google’s rivals. They were fearful that an antitrust investigation into Google by the FTC would not materialize because the agency was not working hard enough in the investigation. Some even insinuated they should take the case to the U.S. Department of Justice and see if the FTC actually investigated Google’s practices. Some even proposed a full blown congressional hearing on the FTC itself and their recent actions with Google.
These latest voluntary changes by Google are more than likely directly attributed to the FTC's Safari Web browser ruling against the company in August of this year. In that investigation the FTC found Google guilty of ignoring the settings made by users of the Safari web browser. Google was forced to pay a hefty 22.5 million dollar fine (U.S.) to the FTC; the fine was noted as the largest fine the federal agency has imposed on any one company to date.