What does Google's FTC settlement mean for Microsoft?

Google's antitrust negotiations with the US Federal Trade Commission officially came to an end today. The FTC announced that Google has agreed to change a number of its practices, and those changes will likely affect how Google will interact with other companies, including Microsoft

The settlement includes word that Google will not seek to place an injunction on products made by other companies that Google believes are using its patents that it offers under “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” terms, also known as FRAND. That includes the patents that Google acquired when it purchased Motorola Mobility in 2012.

As we have been reporting for several months now, Motorola and Microsoft have engaged in a patent battle over Microsoft's use of Motorola FRAND patents related to 802.11 wireless and H.264 video standards. Today's press release stated:

According to the FTC, if left unchecked, this type of patent hold-up can lead to higher prices, as companies may pay higher royalties for the use of Google’s patents because of the threat of an injunction, and then pass those higher prices on to consumers. This may cause companies in technology industries to abandon the standard-setting process and limit or forgo investment in new technologies, according to the agency.

That means that if Google tries to file a lawsuit against Microsoft if it suspects the use of Google's FRAND patents in its products, Google agrees not to file an injunction to stop the sale of the products until the court battle is concluded.

Google has also agreed to allow access to its Google AdWords API in order for advertisers to, in Google's own words, "mix and copy ad campaign data within third-party services that use our AdWords API".

However, one part of the FTC investigation into Google's search practices was closed with no action. Some companies, including Microsoft, claim that Google had altered its search algorithms in order to promote its own services ahead of others. The FTC believes otherwise, saying:

According to the Commission statement, however, the FTC concluded that the introduction of Universal Search, as well as additional changes made to Google’s search algorithms – even those that may have had the effect of harming individual competitors – could be plausibly justified as innovations that improved Google’s product and the experience of its users.

Microsoft has complained in the past that people who use Google Shopping get "Scroogled" because the search results include ones that are paid to be placed inside the search listings. It appears that Microsoft will have to continue to point that out rather than have the FTC step in.

On Wednesday, Microsoft complained that Google was still exerting an unfair influence on others by not allowing Windows Phone full access to Google's YouTube API. We have contacted Microsoft to get an official statement on today's FTC ruling and will update this post when and if they respond.

Source: FTC
Settlement image via Shutterstock

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11 Comments

When the Microsoft-DOJ case wrapped up, there were many claims that Microsoft had paid someone off.

Well here we have a company with very close ties to the presidential administration (the former CEO and current chairman was offered a Cabinet position), give a lot of money to the presidential administration, and upper level people campaigned for the president. And now, Google has been found in the FTC's eyes to be guilty (granted, not a court case, but Google agreed to abide with the regulatory group's findings and "penalties") but instead they just get a slap across the hand, no huge fines, no threats to split them up.

Will we hear the same claims that Google paid off people?

nohone said,
When the Microsoft-DOJ case wrapped up, there were many claims that Microsoft had paid someone off.

Well here we have a company with very close ties to the presidential administration (the former CEO and current chairman was offered a Cabinet position), give a lot of money to the presidential administration, and upper level people campaigned for the president. And now, Google has been found in the FTC's eyes to be guilty (granted, not a court case, but Google agreed to abide with the regulatory group's findings and "penalties") but instead they just get a slap across the hand, no huge fines, no threats to split them up.

Will we hear the same claims that Google paid off people?

Google spent $25 million lobbying Washington during the course of the FTC probe, and it worked

http://thenextweb.com/google/2...he-ftc-probe-and-it-worked/

I heard Eric Schmidt is travelling to North Korea because its the only place on earth where you'll find people who might be interested in Chromebooks.

Lord Method Man said,
I heard Eric Schmidt is travelling to North Korea because its the only place on earth where you'll find people who might be interested in Chromebooks.

Disgruntled troll much?


P.S. the first shipment of the new chromebook sold put in hours but reality is beyond you, yes they won't be everyone but they still sell many units.

thealexweb said,

P.S. the first shipment of the new chromebook sold put in hours

Sold put? Is that like when somebody buys the chromebook but leaves it in the store because they don't actually want it?

Enron said,

Sold put? Is that like when somebody buys the chromebook but leaves it in the store because they don't actually want it?

You know what he means. No need to be a butt about it.

Anyways I have a prototype unit and it has been good to me. I expect the others are the same way. Doesn't do everything but gets the basics done quickly.

I hate Google so much. Human stupidity amazes me. Why people put so much trust into an advertising & search company that sells your private information every chance it can. PEOPLE ARE STUPID. Wake up and STOP USING GOOGLE.

To save face.

Google fanboys sided with Google because to them, "Microsoft is evil". Well hello there, Google is selling your information to other companies! So the fanboys try to make it look now that that this is "ok". It's "ok" for your info to be sold to other companies, and "advertising" is actually a good thing. Of course, we all know that is bull****.

I'm personally DONE with Google's services. I just deleted my YouTube account, and will have nothing to do with them in the future. Not to Google. No to G+. No to YouTube. No to Android.

I won't support a company full of schmucks.

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