Monday, April 21st4.7°C
21450
20944

Google searches out antitrust win

Google has settled a U.S. government probe into its business practices without making any major concessions on how the company runs its Internet search engine, the world's most influential gateway to digital information and commerce.

Thursday's agreement with the Federal Trade Commission covers only some of the issues raised in a wide-ranging antitrust investigation that could have culminated in a regulatory crackdown that re-shapes Internet search, advertising and mobile computing.

But that didn't happen, to the relief of Google and technology trade groups worried about overzealous regulation discouraging future innovation. The resolution disappointed consumer rights groups and Google rivals such as Microsoft Corp., which had lodged complaints with regulators in hopes of legal action that would split up or at least hobble the Internet's most powerful company.

Google is still trying to settle a similar antitrust probe in Europe. A resolution to that case is expected to come within the next few weeks.

After a 19-month investigation, Google Inc. placated the FTC by signing a consent decree requiring the company to charge "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" prices to license hundreds of patents deemed essential to the operations of mobile phones, tablet computers, laptops and video game consoles.

The requirement is meant to ensure that Google doesn't use patents acquired in last year's $12.4 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility to thwart competition from mobile devices running on software other than Google's Android system. The products vying against Android include Apple Inc.'s iPhone and iPad, Research in Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry and Microsoft's Windows software.

Google also promised to exclude, upon request, snippets copied from other websites in capsules of key information shown in response to search requests. The company had insisted the practice is legal under the fair-use provisions of U.S. copyright law. Nonetheless, even before the settlement, Google already had scaled back on the amount of cribbing, or "scraping," of online content after business review site Yelp Inc. lodged one of the complaints that triggered the FTC investigation in 2011.

In another concession, Google pledged to adjust the online advertising system that generates most of its revenue so marketing campaigns can be more easily managed on rival networks.

Google, though, prevailed in the pivotal part of the investigation, which delved into complaints that the Internet search leader has been highlighting its own services on its influential results page while burying links to competing sites. For instance, requests for directions may turn up Google Maps first, queries for video might point to the company's own site, YouTube, and searches for merchandise might route users to Google Shopping.

Although the FTC said it uncovered some obvious instances of bias in Google's results during the investigation, the agency's five commissioners unanimously concluded there wasn't enough evidence to take legal action.

Google's stock rose 42 cents Thursday to close at $723.67. Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash., shed 37 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to finish at $27.25.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

21118


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14500.39+53.87
S&P CDNX998.770.80
DJIA16408.54-16.31
Nasdaq4095.516+9.291
S&P 5001864.85+2.54
CDN Dollar0.9081+0.0011
Gold1284.20-9.2001
Oil104.19-0.11
Lumber329.70-2.70
Natural Gas4.776+0.035

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.115+0.01
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.29+0.07
Cantex0.055+0.01
Anavex Life Sciences0.3750.00
Metalex Ventures0.08+0.005
Russel Metals30.66+0.11
Copper Mountain Mining2.35-0.07
Colorado Resources0.255-0.01
ReliaBrand Inc0.12-0.01
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.025-0.005
Mission Ready Services0.25+0.02

 



21312

FEATURED Property
1781109#88, 2005 Boucherie Road
3 bedrooms 2 baths
$99,900
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Learning to flirt with the edge

With all of the adventure activities I have done and still do, I wonder sometimes if the edge still exists. The systematic approach to learning a new adventure or extreme activity combined with the r...


Time spent prospecting

How much time should you put into prospecting? The question is a bit of a puzzle. Ideally, there would be a reference book that lists, by industry, how much time you should invest in prospecting acti...


Valuation fears grip markets

The Big Picture Valuation fears grip markets Growing concerns about the level of stock market valuations sparked a risk-off trade in global markets this week. Investors are worried that many companies...

_



21637

21637


Member of BC Press Council


21202