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Google faces pressure from FTC to settle in antitrust case

The chairman of the US Federal Trade Commission has given Google an ultimatum to settle an antitrust investigation in the next few days or face a lawsuit, reports Bloomberg.

The news agency, citing anonymous sources, reported that FTC chairman Jonathan Leibowitz has been in talks with the Internet giant for two weeks and is pushing the firm to resolve antitrust issues in the next few days or the US agency has threatened to file an official complaint.

Google has yet to put any solutions to the FTC but insists it is cooperating.

"We continue to work cooperatively with the Federal Trade Commission and are happy to answer any questions they may have," Adam Kovacevich, a spokesman for Google told Bloomberg.

The FTC has been investigating Google for the past 20 months over concerns that the world's largest search engine has been abusing its dominance of the Internet by ranking its own services higher than those of its competitors.

Other questionable business practices include Google signing exclusive agreements to provide search services to online publishers and for making it difficult for advertisers to compare data about campaigns running on rival sites by Yahoo! and Microsoft's Bing.

The tech titan is also facing the FTC's wrath for misusing patent protections to block competition in the smartphone market.

Last week, the FTC recommended that the US government sue Google for trying to stop the sale of Apple and Microsoft smartphones, which it claims infringe its standard-essential patents. The FTC argued that firms are required to license standard-essential patents anyway so Google's lawsuits against Apple and Microsoft were judged as a way of limiting competition.

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