Google’s EU pact could help take off heat in U.S.


(Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

E.U. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia on Wednesday said he is seeking concessions on Google’s global business practices that resolve concerns it is using its dominance in search to push forward in other businesses.

Europe is well ahead of the United States, which is conducting its own investigation. But there doesn’t seem to be an appetite for a drawn-out lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission. And the settlement by the European Commission could serve as a template of sorts for U.S. regulators, analysts say.

“The FTC is not as close to concluding its investigation as the EC is, so a final FTC decision may not come for several months,” said Guggenheim Partners analyst Paul Gallant.

And unlike the EC, which isn’t looking into mobile search, an FTC action would likely include concessions on mobile search.

“But we believe Android is among the areas the FTC is investigating. If the FTC does settle with Google, as we expect, one possibility is for the FTC to try to limit Google/Android’s ability to pressure handset manufacturers to make Google services — especially Google search and its GPS/local features — the default settings on Android mobile devices,” Gallant said.

Related:

Google nears settlement in E.U.

In Silicon Valley, fast firms and slow regulators

Cecilia Kang is a senior technology correspondent for The Washington Post.

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