More insiders reportedly point to FTC antitrust case against Google

Summary:Here's more fuel for the rumors that the Federal Trade Commission is going after Google on antitrust grounds.

The Federal Trade Commission might finally be nearing a formal and public recommendation for a antitrust suit against Google, based on a new report.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday, based on four unnamed sources "familiar with the matter," that "a majority of the agency’s five commissioners are inclined to sue."

Predictably, a lot of this legal battle is going to do with patents, which gets complicated as it involves a tangled network of Google's competitors (Apple and Microsoft, for example) as well as OEM partners (Samsung) and Google's recent acquisition, Motorola Mobility.

Because this case against Google is so big, here's how it will likely play out, according to Bloomberg:

U.S. antitrust regulators have agreed the FTC will focus on Motorola Mobility while the Justice Department will scrutinize Samsung Electronics Co.’s handling of industry-standard patent claims, said a person familiar with the matter June 30. The European Commission opened formal probes of Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics Co. for the same issues earlier this year.

The investigation into Google’s use of standard-essential patents is separate from the agency’s broader probe examining whether Google’s business practices in search, advertising and mobile hurt competition, the people said. FTC investigators are also recommending the commission sue Google in that case, three people familiar with the matter said Oct. 13. A final decision hasn’t been made.

However, an official decision regarding Google's efforts to block U.S. imports of Microsoft and Apple products isn't expected to drop until at least after the U.S. presidential election on Tuesday, November 6.

This isn't the first time that we've heard rumblings about a legal battle over this matter between Google and the FTC. The federal agency has supposedly been eyeing an antitrust case against the Internet giant since at least mid-2011.

In October, Reuters reported that the FTC was possibly already prepping for an official investigation to start as soon as November or December.

Topics: Google, Legal, Patents

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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