EU, U.S. antitrust officials to meet about Google investigations

The heads of separate probes into the Web giant's business practices will meet next week in Europe, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The U.S. and European officials leading separate antitrust investigations into Google are expected to meet next week in Europe, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Liebowitz is expected to meet with European Union competition chief Joaquin Almunia on Monday to discuss a range of cases, including Google's, an EU official told The Journal.

The FTC has investigated a wide range of Google's business practices, focusing mostly on the way Google displays search results, which critics say favor the company's own services over those of its competitors. The U.S. trade agency is also examining Google decisions on technology licensing, which some argue are anti-competitive.

The meeting comes as Google has reportedly been engaged in settlement talks with the FTC for about a week and is resisting pressure to enter into a consent decree affecting Google's products. Google efforts to persuade investigators that Google didn't violate antitrust laws reportedly led CEO Larry Page to meet with FTC officials this week in Washington.

Liebowitz has said that his agency would announce a decision on Google by the end of the year, while an EU official told The Journal that European investigation might not be wrapped up by then.

The search behemoth, which was put under the European antitrust spotlight in 2010 after rivals launched allegations of anti-competitive behavior, has made overtures to settle the ongoing EU probe. Google Chairman Eric Schmidt reportedly spoke with Almunia this summer about Google's settlement offer.

Google faces a fine of up to 10 percent of its global revenue, or about $4 billion, should it be found to be in violation of European antitrust laws.

CNET has contacted Google for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

 

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