In the talks between the Federal Trade Commission and Google to negotiate the terms for ending the agency’s antitrust investigation, things seem to be going Google’s way, two people who have been briefed on the discussions said Sunday.
A key issue in the talks, accusations that Google biases its search results to favor its own services, has been taken off the table, said the two people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the negotiations are continuing.
As the negotiations now stand, Google would make a set of voluntary commitments. In addition, it would be sued and sign a consent decree, agreeing to license patents deemed essential for wireless communications on reasonable terms.
Google … is preparing a letter promising not to copy content from rival websites without permission and to allow advertisers to compare data from ad campaigns with their performance on other Internet search engines, one of the people said yesterday. That will bring the antitrust investigation to a close without a lawsuit or settlement, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public.
Reback tells Wired he hasn’t been able to confirm reports in Politico and elsewhere that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission would end its antitrust investigation in exchange for voluntary changes from Google. But he said any such agreement would mean a “complete institutional failure” on the part of the FTC to rectify what he describes as Google’s ravaging of the internet’s competitive landscape in recent years.
PS in Forbes heute Susan Crawford (ja, ich weiß):
A finding against Google would have meant that Washington would, in effect, have needed to justify coming up with some way to force people to directly or indirectly disfavor Google. Antitrust never stops consumers directly by aiming force squarely against them by banning their use of something; that would too blatantly reveal its true nature as corporate welfare.
Instead the antitrust industry extracts concessions, promises and the like with pro-consumer, bureau-as-savior verbiage while in reality shoring up rivals and high-fiving the antitrust bar, probably over beers. Then it waits until the next target comes along.