In January Google reached a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission over an antitrust probe — but it appears the search giant may soon be facing yet another investigation. Both Bloomberg and Reuters are reporting that the FTC is in the early stages of looking into whether Google has used its dominance in online display ad sales to illegally hurt its competitors. The case apparently hinges on whether the company is using its massive position in the US online display advertising market to push companies to use more of its other services, something that could be illegal under current antitrust laws. It's not clear yet specifically which of Google's many services are being referred to.
This new investigation comes not long after Google settled with the FTC after a 20-month investigation into both the way it prioritizes search results and the way that Google had sought injunctions against devices that were thought to have infringed upon standards-essential patents from Motorola. The company also settled with the European Union over another search-related antitrust suit last month. While Google's past settlements may indicate the search giant wasn't confident it could win those cases, it's far too early in this latest investigation to say whether or not these new claims will lead to a similar outcome.
Bryan Bishop contributed to this report.