US trade body ends long Google probe with mild rep­ri­mand

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - NATION - Reuters

WASHINGTON: In a ma­jor vic­tory for Google Inc, US reg­u­la­tors on Thurs­day ended their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the gi­ant In­ter­net com­pany and con­cluded that it had not ma­nip­u­lated its Web search re­sults to hurt ri­vals.

The Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion did, how­ever, win prom­ises from Google that it would end the prac­tice of “scrap­ing” re­views and other data from ri­vals' web­sites for its own prod­ucts, and to al­low ad­ver­tis­ers to ex­port data to in­de­pen­dently eval­u­ate ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns.

Google also agreed to no longer re­quest sales bans when su­ing com­pa­nies which in­fringe on patents that are es­sen­tial to en­sur­ing in­ter­op­er­abil­ity, also known as stan­dard es­sen­tial patents, the FTC said. Mi­crosoft and other Google ri­vals have pressed the FTC to bring a broad an­titrust case against Google sim­i­lar to the sweep­ing Jus­tice De­part­ment lit­i­ga­tion against Mi­crosoft in the 1990s.

The news had lit­tle im­pact on Google shares, which closed up 42 cents at $723.7, as most in­vestors had ex­pected the FTC probe to con­clude with­out in­flict­ing ma­jor dam­age.

“I never saw any real like­li­hood that the feds were go­ing to in­sert them­selves be­tween one of the most pop­u­lar brands in the world and the con­stituency that adores it,” said Whit An­drews, an an­a­lyst for Gart­ner Inc.

Mean­while smaller in­ter­net firms such as Nex­tag have com­plained about Google tweak­ing its Web search re­sults to give promi­nence to its own prod­ucts.

The Google sign at the In­ter­net search gi­ant’s head­quar­ters in Cal­i­for­nia

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