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The Federal Trade Commission is finishing up a more than year-long investigation of Google’s search practices, and the agency may be leaning toward suing the search giant for violating antitrust laws.
Four out of the five FTC commissioners believe Google illegally abused its power in search at the expense of competitors, Reuters reported Friday. Investigators issued a 100-page draft memo recommending a lawsuit, according to Bloomberg.
The commission will make a decision on how to proceed before the end of the year, chairman Jon Leibowitz’s said last month. A government lawsuit against Google would require a vote in favor by three of the five FTC commissioners.
A decision to sue would bring to head a investigation that included interviews with rivals such as Nextag and Yelp, which both testified before the commission.
“We believe Google has acted anti-competitively in at least two key ways: by misusing Yelp review content in their competing Places product and by favoring their own competing Places product in search results,” Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said last year.
“We are happy to answer any questions that regulators have about our business,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat.
In a separate run in with the FTC, Google agreed to pay a $22.5 million fine for misrepresenting how it collected user data in Apple’s Safari browser.
Photo credit: niallkennedy/Flickr
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