Google CEO said to meet with FTC over antitrust probe

Bloomberg reports that Larry Page was interviewed in the final stages of the FTC's long investigation.

Google's effort to persuade investigators that it hasn't violated antitrust laws may be reaching its final stages, with CEO Larry Page reportedly meeting with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission officials today in Washington.

Citing a person familiar with the discussions, Bloomberg reports that Page met with officials in the last days of a 19-month investigation into Google's business practices. The company has been having settlement talks with the FTC for "about a week," Google reported, and is resisting pressure to enter into a consent decree affecting Google's products.

The FTC has investigated a wide range of Google's business practices, focused on two key areas: the way Google displays search results, which critics say favor the company's own services over those of its competitors; and its decisions around technology licensing, which some argue are anticompetitive. (At a business conference today, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman railed against Google's search results strategy.)

Bloomberg previously reported that the FTC had issued an ultimatum to Google pressuring the company to settle. But there have been lingering questions over whether the FTC can make an airtight case that Google has broken the law. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden wrote a letter to the FTC on Monday expressing concerns over rampant leaks from the investigation, along with reports that the FTC was considering novel new applications of the law in order to make its case.

Google, for its part, repeated a previous statement that it is working with the FTC and is happy to answer officials' questions. It declined further comment to Bloomberg, as did the FTC.

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