Google is reportedly facing a full investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission, amid growing concerns over the company's web dominance.
Google is already facing anti-competition investigations in the EU, while Texas officials are also probing Google's search market tactics. Now according to Bloomberg, FTC watchdogs are also circling.
According to Bloomberg sources, an FTC probe into Google “could be on par” with the scope of the Justice Department’s investigation of Microsoft more than a decade ago.
Keith Hylton, an antitrust law professor at Boston University School of Law, said Google “could fight the FTC, but that’s going to cost a lot of money and time”.
Citing anonymous sources close to the proceedings, Bloomberg claimed the FTC was waiting to see whether the Justice Department planned a full-scale competition investigation into Google's planned buyout of airline ticketing company ITA, which has spread fear among online travel companies.
If the Justice Department does launch a probe into the ITA acquisition, the judges would decide whether that department or the FTC should carry out a wider probe.
The FTC commissioner Thomas Rosch went on record last month as saying he supported a probe of the dominant players in the internet search industry, but stopped short of naming Google as a target.
While Google has long stressed that “competition is one click away on the internet” it refused to comment to PC Pro on what it called "speculation and rumour".
However, lawyers that represent rival operators said the investigation had been a long time coming.
“An investigation is long overdue,” Gary Reback, an antitrust lawyer that represents companies that have complained about Google, told Bloomberg. “Every day there are companies who are being hurt by Google’s anticompetitive behaviour and we still have arm wrestling going on in Washington.”
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk