"Google has consented to change their practices and they will need to open themselves to reporting and analysis to the FTC," he noted. "This is no light matter. Just ask Microsoft. Lawyers will now have a better seat at Google, and they will be involved in every major decision."
One question remains, though: Will the FTC's move affect the European Commission's own antitrust probe into the company?
The EC has been running an investigation since 2010, based on allegations that the company abused its heavily dominant position in online search to promote Google's other services.
"I think this puts a stake in the ground -- a lenient stake in the ground -- for the EU, which is considering many of the same issues with Google," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "The U.S. ruling establishes a precedent that could certainly influence the thinking in Europe... Many expected the FTC to wait to see what the EC did before they acted."
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