SEARCH FIRM Google could be about to face a fresh antitrust investigation, this time about its display advertising business.
Google is regularly accused of stiffling online competition due to its size and its influence.
It has tangoed with regulators in the US and Europe, and has been involved in as many investigations as Columbo.
According to Bloomberg a US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigation is getting underway that will look at whether Google uses its position in the display ads market to favour its own services
In January an earlier investigation by the FTC ended with a mild enforcement action. Although the FTC said that Google had done wrong, it merely admonished the company.
The FTC said, "Undoubtedly, Google took aggressive actions to gain advantage over rival search providers," but did not say that it was anticompetitive or acting illegally. As part of the deal Google must license its standards essential patents, including those it got with Motorola, under fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms.
Rival search provider Microsoft did not take this very well, and expressed its desire to see Google appear in front of regulators again, until those regulators get it right and cripple it.
"That is certainly consistent with the lack of change we continue to witness as we and so many others experience ongoing harm to competition in the marketplace," said Microsoft VP and deputy general counsel Dave Heiner.
"We remain hopeful [that] agencies will stick to their established procedures, ensure transparency, and obtain the additional relief needed to address the serious competition law concerns that remain," he said. µ
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