ADVERTISING BROKER Google has been meeting with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ahead of its investigation into the firm coming to an conclusion.
Bloomberg reports that Google CEO Larry Page met with FTC officials, while Google's chairman Eric Schmidt was seen with head of the firm's Washington, DC office and former Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari.
Google maintains that it hasn't broken any antitrust laws and is trying to make sure that any agreement with the FTC won't involve a consent decree. The firm has been in talks with the FTC for about a week, with Bloomberg's source saying the commission is trying to decide whether there is a market in which Google has a monopoly.
The FTC wants Google to resolve its concerns over the firm's dominance in the internet search market. If Google cannot allay antitrust concerns, the FTC can file a lawsuit and head to court for several years. To cover itself, the FTC might ask Google to agree to a consent decree, but Google might prefer to fight a lawsuit than accept a consent decree if it believes it has done nothing wrong.
In a consent decree Google would not necessarily have to admit that it was in violation of any antitrust laws but would agree to cease and avoid whatever activities the FTC chooses to specify.
Google is said to have been talking to the FTC over exclusive search agreements with publishers and alleged used of patents to stop rival smartphone makers from entering the market. But these are all just rumours, and no one will know whether there's anything to this FTC investigation of Google until it has concluded. µ