Google is back under US antitrust scrutiny as officials ask whether the tech giant stifled competitors’ access to its Android mobile-operating system, said two people familiar with the matter.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reached an agreement with the Justice Department to spearhead an investigation of Google’s Android business, the sources said.
FTC officials have met with technology company representatives who say Google gives priority to its own services on the Android platform, while restricting others, the sources said on condition of anonymity because the matter is confidential.
The inquiry is in its early stages, and it could end without a case against the company.
Regardless, it shows the FTC is again turning its attention to one of America’s biggest companies, two years after it closed a separate investigation into Google’s internet search business.
The FTC’s handling of the earlier probe left some technology companies skeptical of the agency’s willingness to bring a case, according to the people.
Spokesmen for the FTC and Google declined to comment.
The latest FTC scrutiny comes after Europe’s antitrust chief challenged Google earlier this year over its dominance of internet search.
The European Union has also started its own investigation into Google’s Android platform following complaints, including from a group representing Microsoft, Expedia and Nokia Oyj.
It isn’t clear to what extent EU and US antitrust investigators are co-operating.
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