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FTC Gearing Up for Google Antitrust Probe: Bloomberg

The story suggests it might be hard for the FTC to nail Google on search

The Federal Trade Commission is going ahead with an antitrust investigation of Google, according to Bloomberg.

The wire service reports talking to three people "familiar with the matter" who said that the FTC has told "hi-tech companies to gather information for the probe."

The story suggests it might be hard for the FTC to nail Google on search but it might charge it with leveraging its monopoly into adjacent markets.

Bloomberg says the agency recently hired Columbia Law professor Timothy Wu, an expert in telecommunications and copyright, who wrote both Who Controls the Internet and The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires and clerked for both the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. Wu coined the term net neutrality and BusinessWeek once credited him with providing "the intellectual framework that inspired Google's mobile phone strategy."

In January the FTC also hired Princeton computer science professor Edward Felton as its chief technology officer. Felton testified at Microsoft's antitrust trial debunking Redmond's claim that its Internet Explorer browser couldn't be detached from the Windows operating system.

Google is already under investigation by the European Commission for discriminating against other services in its search results. Microsoft filed one of the complaints that could also expand the probe to online video and mobile phones.

A Senate antitrust subcommittee also wants to have hearings on Google's business practices.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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