The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [official website] announced [press release] on Thursday that Google [corporate website] did not violate antitrust or anticompetition laws. Google's practice of favoring its own services in search results, to the detriment of its competitors, has been under scrutiny. Though Google will be required to make changes to its business practices that the FTC believes could stifle competition, the investigation did not produce evidence to justify legal action against the company, and the commission voted unanimously to close the investigation on Google's search-related practices. Thursday's announcement is a major victory [NYT report] for Google in its ongoing dispute with regulators.
Google has faced numerous allegations regarding its business practices over the past several years, both in the US and abroad. Last month, an Italian court overturned [JURIST report] a conviction against Google executives for privacy violations. In November a federal judge approved [JURIST report] a $22.5 million fine against Google for privacy misrepresentations. In February a federal judge dismissed [JURIST report] a challenge to Google's privacy changes by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) [advocacy website]. Earlier that month, a French court ruled [JURIST report] that Google Maps was practicing unfair competition.