The on-going anti-trust investigation into Google has finally been completed with a 4-1 ruling that Google must stop excluding competitors from using standards essential patents owned by subsidiary Motorola. These patents are what the FTC call the "cornerstone of the interoperability standards that we have taken for granted."
Google is also making two voluntary changes to the way some of its products work:
- More choice for websites: Websites can already opt out of Google Search, and they can now remove content (for example reviews) from specialized search results pages, such as local, travel and shopping;
- More ad campaign control: Advertisers can already export their ad campaignsfrom Google AdWords. They will now be able to mix and copy ad campaign data within third-party services that use our AdWords API.
"The changes Google has agreed to make will ensure that consumers continue to reap the benefits of competition in the online marketplace and in the market for innovative wireless devices they enjoy," said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "This was an incredibly thorough and careful investigation by the Commission, and the outcome is a strong and enforceable set of agreements."
Google appears to have gotten off with another slap on the wrist, just like it did back in August, 2012, when it paid out $22.5 million to settle charges of knowingly bypassing Safari's privacy settings. A similar result is expected in the European antri-trust investigation that is still on-going.