Google is in the midst of an antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which recently led to a subpoena issued for former CEO Eric Schmidt to testify before the Senate in September. Unlike other antitrust probes that Google has experienced with mergers and acquisitions, this one hits at the company’s core business, with the latest reports saying that investigations will focus on Android and search.
According to the Wall Street Journal, sources familiar with the probe say that the key areas the FTC intends to probe include Google’s Android mobile platform and its web search related services. The FTC is questioning whether Google prevents manufacturers that use Android from using competing services, such as other search tools.
They are also looking into whether Google gives its own services priority over competing services in its search results. There are also allegations that Google unfairly takes information collected by rivals, such as reviews of local businesses and then displays that information on its own service while giving it priority in search results.
Google denies these allegations and believes that they come from rivals that are threatened by its aggressive expansion beyond search. This brings to mind Google’s acquisition of ITA to expand its travel search offering, which will directly step on the toes of many travel services.