Google, FTC close to striking deal on antitrust probe

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Google is reportedly open to offer concessions in an effort to satisfy concerns by U.S. regulators and end a 20-month antitrust inquiry on its business practices, which could mean no enforcement action could be taken against the company.

In response to Google’s voluntary changes involving its search practices, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) could decide to end its investigation as early as this week. Sources familiar with the matter say that Google would not need to sign a formal settlement with the FTC showing that the Internet search giant would agree to certain terms.

A decision by the FTC to end the inquiry without enforcing any action against Google would be a huge blow to rivals Microsoft Corp., Expedia and Yelp Inc. , complaining that Google violates antitrust laws.

A final deal could still see some changes since negotiations are still ongoing, according to sources.

Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich declined to offer any comment if Google will announce any concessions or if the FTC will put an end to the probe without taking any action. FTC spokeswoman Cecelia Prewett also declined to make any comment.

Google continues to face several antitrust probes from regulators in Europe and American attorneys general on its Internet search operations.

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