updated 04:17 pm EDT, Fri October 12, 2012
Google's search market practices under the microscope
The Federal Trade Commission may be preparing to level an antitrust case against search giant Google, alleging that the company has illegally used its dominance of the search market to crowd out rivals. This according to Reuters, which cites sources familiar with the FTC's examination of Google in saying that a case may be forthcoming. Reportedly, the majority of the higher up decision makers at the FTC believe that an antitrust case should be brought, and a decision may be made as early as November or December.
The case would likely center on allegations from possible Google competitors such as Yelp and Nextag, which have complained to the FTC about Google in open hearings in Congress in the past. Google is the world's most popular search engine, and these and other companies allege that Google has been giving their products low quality rankings in search results. These low rankings, they allege, unfairly steer users toward Google's products at the expense of its competitors.
Representatives from Google have said that the company would be "happy to answer any questions that regulators have about our business."
Google has repeatedly denied that it manipulates its search results to boost its own services. Still, FTC commissioners are said to have examined a number of complaints against the search company. Among these are complaints that Google will not share with advertisers and developers the data that would allow them to create tools to measure the return on investment for advertising spending on Google versus other search providers.
The FTC is expected to reveal its plans in either late November or early December.