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EU and US antitrust officials to meet over Google case

The US and European antitrust officials leading separate investigations into Google are rumoured to be meeting next week in Europe, according to The Wall Street Journal.

John Leibowitz, chairman of The Federal Trade Commission, is expected to meet with European Union competition chief Joaquin Almunia on Monday to discuss a range of cases, including Google, said an EU official.

The FTC and Google are currently in settlement talks with Google's Larry Page meeting agency officials in Washington this week. It emerged last week that Leibowitz has given the search giant an ultimatum to settle the investigation or face a lawsuit.

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.

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

Last month, 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.

Meanwhile, EU antitrust regulators have been investigating Google in a similar vein since 2010.

Liebowitz is expected to announce a decision on a settlement with Google by the end of the year, while an EU official told The Journal that a European investigation might not be wrapped up by then.