Thursday, May 23, 2024

U.S., EU Will Delay Google Antitrust Decisions until 2013

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Earlier this week, several media outlets reported that Google was close to reaching a settlement in an FTC antitrust investigation. Now, it appears that U.S. regulators will postpone their decision until next year, and EU officials also said they will consider settlement offers from Google in 2013.

According to Bloomberg’s Sara Forden, “The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s final decision on how to resolve its 20-month antitrust investigation of Google Inc. (GOOG) will be delayed until next year, said two people familiar with the situation who asked not to be named because the talks aren’t public. The agency had been expected to announce the outcome of its probe this week, two other people familiar with the agency’s thinking had said.”

All Things D’s Liz Gannes added, “That news follows a statement today from the European Commission that it was also working to settle with Google, but for a firmer agreement than what the FTC was reportedly getting. After meeting today with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt in Brussels, EC competition chief Joaquin Almunia had said he expected Google to submit a ‘detailed commitment text’ in January. He said he hoped the process would lead to a binding decision that was ‘market-tested’ and would include remedies for the alleged bias in Google’s search results toward its own offerings. The FTC, which had let it be known it wanted the matter finished before the end of the year, was getting none of those concessions.”

ZDNet quoted EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia, who said, “Since our preliminary talks with Google started in July, we have substantially reduced our differences regarding possible ways to address each of the four competition concerns expressed by the commission.”

In a separate story, Google received bad news in a patent case between its Motorola Mobility unit and Apple. Computerworld’s John Ribeiro reported, “An administrative law judge at the U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that Apple did not violate a Motorola Mobility patent relating to a sensor controlled user interface for a portable communication device. Judge Thomas B. Pender ruled in his initial determination on Tuesday that there had been no violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 with respect to U.S Patent no. 6,246,862.”

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