Google to settle with FTC on patent misuse

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US regulators could settle with Google over antitrust allegations as soon as tomorrow.

According to Bloomberg, the internet giant has agreed to voluntarily change some of its business practices and settle allegations that it misused patents to thwart its opposition in the smartphone wars.

The FTC has been investigating whether Google deliberately skews results in favour of its own products. The decision is a massive blow to the likes of Yelp, Microsoft and Expedia, who all feel that they’ve been unfairly affected by the internet giant’s policies.

The concession made by Google will see it allowing advertisers to export data to other platforms and will also see it change the way it uses content from other websites.

The expected FTC decisions has drawn ire from the likes of FairSearch.org coalition, which includes Microsoft and Expedia:

“If the FTC fails to take decisive action to end Google’s anti-competitive practices, and locks itself out of any remedies to Google’s conduct that are offered in Europe later this month, the FTC will have acted prematurely and failed in its mission of protecting America’s consumers,” according to a FairSearch.org blogpost published yesterday.

Microsoft VP and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner meanwhile said that Google’s belief that the charges against it caused no harm to consumers was erroneous and that it was inconsistent in its own demands to other services:

Google often says that the antitrust offenses with which it has been charged cause no harm to consumers. Google is wrong about that. In this instance, for example, Google’s refusal deprives consumers who use competing platforms of a comparable experience in accessing content that is generally available on the Web, almost all of which is created by users rather than by Google itself. And it’s inconsistent, to say the least, with Google’s public insistence that other competing services, such as Facebook, should offer Google complete access to their content so they can index and include it on their search site.

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