Can Google Escape This FTC Fire?

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has given Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) an ultimatum to either offer a settlement deal in the next few days or face a formal complaint in the ongoing antitrust investigation against it. The agency has warned the search company that it would take action in the next week or two, according to Bloomberg.

The FTC has spent the last 20 months investigating Google for possible abuse of the company’s hold on the Internet search market. The agency has mainly been probing whether Google adjusts search results so that it own services, such as YouTube or Google Maps, are ranked higher than those of rivals. It is also investigating whether the search company makes it harder for advertisers to compare data about ad campaigns on Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) or Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Bing search websites. Another investigation centered on the allegation that Google misused patent protections to stop rival smartphones from Microsoft and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) from coming to the market.

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While the search company has been discussing matters with the FTC for two weeks, it still hasn’t made a proposal to solve the issues and the agency’s investigators have now recommended issuing a formal complaint.

“We continue to work cooperatively with the Federal Trade Commission and are happy to answer any questions they may have,” Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich told Bloomberg.

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