Today the Federal Trade Commission is said to be close to wrapping up the anti-trust allegations against Google (GOOG). It has previously been reported that the search engine giant may be required to sign a consent decree, which would limit its business practices in the future. However today the Washington Post reports that the company may be able to avoid signing that decree.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reportedly close to a deal with the Federal Trade Commission in connection with anti-trust allegations. The Washington Post cites an anonymous source who said the concessions Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is expected to make are not even close to the changes its rivals were seeking.
The deal reportedly sets new limits on how much content Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is allowed to take from other sites. It also simplifies the process for online advertisers who wish to transfer their business from Google to other companies. However the biggest win for Google is said to be the lack of movement by the FTC in connection with claims that Google uses its search engine to promote its own services over those of its rivals. These claims have been the focal point of the anti-trust allegations against Google.
Google’s agreement with the FTC is expected to come as early as this week and will likely be in the form of “voluntary changes” made by Google rather than a settlement or even an official agreement. Some sources have reported that Google may have to sign a consent decree, which would place a limit on the business practices it follows in the future. However Craig Timberg at the Washington Post said his source told him that today’s developments seem to indicate Google might be able to avoid signing a consent decree and instead say it will make changes that are to be viewed as voluntary.
If Google manages to avoid that decree, it could draw the ire of the company’s rivals. A number of companies have already begun to lobby the Justice Department, although according to this morning’s article in the Post, the agency is unlikely to begin a new investigation into Google after the FTC anti-trust agreement is completed.
After the FTC and Google finish completing their agreement, the search engine giant will turn its full attention to the anti-trust investigations being conducted by the European Union and the individual states that have their own investigations.
Shares of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) are up almost 2 percent with an increase of around $13 each in morning trades.