The U.S. Federal Trade Commission [FTC] is preparing to serve Google (GOOG) with civil subpoenas, signaling the start of a wide-ranging investigation into whether the search giant has abused its dominance on the Web by unfairly directing users to its own growing network of services at the expense of rivals’, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The five-member commission is preparing to send Google the formal demands for information within days. Other companies are also likely to receive official requests for information about their dealings with Google at a later stage, the Journal said.
From Google’s viewpoint, the FTC’s antitrust probe — which will look into fundamental factors associated with the company’s core search ad business that continues to account for the overwhelming majority of its revenues — is the most serious to date in the U.S.
In November, the European Commission began its very own official investigation into claims by a number of firms that Google had breached European competition laws.
At last check, GOOG was down $10.10, or 2.07%, to $476.91. Day’s range: $475.00 – $482.86 ; 52wk range: $433.63 – $642.96. Volume: 2.1 million shares traded as of 12:01 a.m. EST vs 2.63 million daily (3m) average.