Google Free to Extend Web Search Lead

U.S. FTC ends probe of company without taking enforcement action.

Google Inc. is free to extend its dominance of the $50 billion Internet-search market after U.S. regulators ended an investigation into whether the company unfairly skewed search results to disadvantage competitors.

The Federal Trade Commission, after a 20-month antitrust probe, concluded Google was motivated more by wanting to improve its search results and user experience than by a desire to stifle competition, said Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who drew a distinction between dominating a market and doing so unfairly.

Standard Patents

Google agreed in a consent decree to limitations on when it can seek to bar sales of competitors’ products that rely on so-called standard-essential patents. Industry-standard technology helps ensure products such as mobile phone antennas and global-positioning system software can operate together when made by different manufacturers.

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