FTC near decision on Google antitrust inquiry, report says

The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission says the investigation into Google's business practices is nearing its end.

Google will know by year's end whether it will face legal action over antitrust issues, according to a report.

The New York Times reports that Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, told reporters after a luncheon at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., that he hoped to resolve the inquiry into Google's search results and advertising practices within the next few months.

The FTC has been looking into Google's practices for more than a year now, amid claims the company unfairly privileges search results having to do with its products over those involving competitors' offerings. Google has argued that it only changes the search experience to make it better for consumers.

According to the Times, Leibowitz wouldn't say whether the FTC staff had made a recommendation on whether to bring a lawsuit.

In Aspen, Colo., last month, former FTC Chairman William Kovacic said charges of unfair competition would be hard for the agency to prove. The last time an agency won an unfair competition suit was in 1968.

But the FTC may well try it anyway, he said.

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