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Google founders to face antitrust questioning

updated 08:58 pm EDT, Fri June 8, 2012

Brin, Page to appear for FTC depositions

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the co-founders of Google, will appear before US antitrust regulators for questioning, sources familiar with the proceedings have told Bloomberg. The two Google executives have retained counsel, and are expected to give depositions before the Federal Trade Commission some time in the next few months.

At issue is whether or not Google has been unfairly using its position as the world's dominant search engine in a manner biased in favor of its own products, as well as whether Google has increased advertising rates for its competitors. Allegations of unfair play against the world's largest search engine are many, and they come from an array of complainants, though it is unclear as yet how many of these figure directly into the FTC's case.

The FTC has been probing Google's business practices for some time now, having subpoenaed the company around a year ago. In recent months, the investigation has widened to include the company's social network, Google+, as well as the integration of Google search into Apple's iOS platform.

In April, the FTC hired an external lawyer for the case, signaling that the regulatory body was moving closer to a full formal investigation. All along, Google executives have maintained that the company's practices are not anti-competitive.

Google maintains that users are free to visit Google's competition, which they say is "only a click away" due to the nature of the web. Google's dominant status, though, may prove that excuse insufficient in the eyes of regulators, as many companies depend on Google's index to publicize their services.

by MacNN Staff



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