Google in anticompetitive behavior to maintain the dominance of its search engine, investigators at the Federal Trade Commission wrote in a private report obtained by the Wall Street Journal. According to the 2012 report, FTC staff recommended that an antitrust lawsuit be brought against Google, but FTC commissioners decided instead to close the investigation in early 2013.
The staff argued that Google demonstrated anticompetitive behavior by improving its search results by copying content from websites such as Amazon and then threatening to remove those websites from Google if they objected.
Google is also said to forbid companies from bolstering advertising campaigns on other websites by using data that they gathered from running advertising on Google’s ad platform.
The FTC staff also argued that Google restricted websites from displaying search results from both Google and one of its competitors.
Google also harmed companies such as Yelp and Orbitz by favoring its own shopping and travel services in search results, the FTC report said.
Google general counsel Kent Walker told the paper that "speculation about potential consumer harm turned out to be entirely wrong" and that in the two years since the investigation ended "the ways people access information online have only increased, giving consumers more choice than ever before."