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FTC in favor of suing Google for patent antitrust violations, says Bloomberg

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The US Federal Trade Commission is leaning towards a lawsuit over Google's patent licensing practices, Bloomberg reports. According to anonymous sources, a report to the FTC commissioners formally recommended that it sue Google for antitrust violations, and a majority of the commissioners are in favor of the suit, though a final decision won't be made until after the November 6th election. We already knew that the FTC report would probably recommend a lawsuit, but if these sources are correct, the suit itself is becoming more likely — though it's still possible Google will settle or otherwise try to avoid legal action.

The FTC has been conducting a wide-ranging investigation for the past year and a half, covering whether Google has abused its dominance in search, given preference to services like Google+, and used its Android platform to shut out competitors. This report, however, appears to involve patent licensing: the FTC has apparently decided that Google-owned Motorola was indeed abusing standards-essential patents in disputes with Apple and Microsoft. If a suit is announced soon, it will be a surprisingly quick decision in one of the FTC's most recent investigations of Google.