The New York Times reports:
The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday found thathad not violated antitrust or anticompetition statutes in the way it structures its Web search application — handing a big victory to the search giant in its ongoing dispute with regulators.
But the commission found that Google had misused its broad patents on cellphone technology, and ordered Google to make that technology available to rivals.
Google’s competitors, including Microsoft, have pressed vigorously for federal officials to bring an antitrust case involving its search business. Last year, an F.T.C. staff report recommended that the commission bring such a case.
The F.T.C. found that although Google sometimes favors its own products when producing search results with its ubiquitous search engine, its actions were “not undertaken without legitimate justification,” said Jon Leibowitz, the F.T.C. chairman.
Google agreed, however, to take certain actions to address what Mr. Leibowitz called “the most problematic business practices relating to its search and search advertising business.”
The trade commission’s inquiry has been going on for at least a year and a half. Google disclosed in June 2011 that it had received formal notification from the commission that it was looking into Google’s business practices.
Google has long defended its search business, saying that it offers results that are most relevant to consumers and that the “competition is just a click away.” It contends that users who believe a Google search is not meeting their needs can easily move to another search engine, like Microsoft’s Bing.
Google has also said that the barriers to entry into the search business are so low that it cannot abuse its market power, even though it has more than a 70 percent share of the search business in the United States. . . .