FTC Announces Results of Google Anti-Competitive Investigation
In the middle part of 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started to investigate Google for various anti-competitive practices. Earlier today those findings were revealed, and the good news is Google gets to avoid a potentially lengthy trial. FTC Chairman John Leibowitz announced Google has reached a settlement to change parts of its business in relation to patents, online search, and advertising. In regards to the patents, Google cannot seek an injunction against a licensee if the patents "are essential to industry standards used to provide wireless connectivity and for internet-related technologies." Basically it protects smartphones, tablets, game systems, operating systems, and any other Internet-connected device or high definition video product.
Google was found to have altered its search algorithms in order to promote its services instead of competitors, specifically the Universal Search function. However, the FTC ruled those changes "could be plausibly justified as innovations that improved Google’s product and the experience of its users." The folks in Mountain View won't have to worry about that, but its AdWord program has to be changed to become compatible with the competition. FTC investigators ruled it was difficult for advertisers to manage campaigns through AdWord and the competition due to restrictions on the AdWord APIs. Google has agreed to remove those restrictions and give advertisers an easier time.