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Results of FTC's Google antitrust probe reportedly delayed until 2013

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Earlier this week we saw reports that the FTC would let Google avoid antitrust prosectution by making voluntary changes to its search practices, but now it appears that the agency’s final decision on the matter will be coming down next year, rather than within the week as originally rumored. Bloomberg reports that the results of the FTC's formal probe have been postponed, citing "people familiar with the agency’s thinking." Details of the settlement have not been made public, but could include reducing the number of third-party restaurant and travel reviews Google includes in its search results, and making it easier for ad campaigns to be ported to competing search engines.

Concurrent with the American FTC investigation, Google is also facing antitrust-related concerns in Europe. There too, a solution is reportedly in the works: Google chairman Eric Schmidt conferred with the EC’s Vice President for Competition Policy Joaquín Almunia yesterday, and the company is reported to be outlining a plan for dealing with the issues sometime in January.

Update: According to The New York Times, the reason for the delay is for commissioners to consider possible penalties "after recent reports portrayed Google as having persuaded the FTC to give the company little more than a slap on the wrist." The results of the report are expected to be handed down sometime in January.