The FTC's investigation into Google's search business is expected to wind down very soon, and from the sound of it, the investigation in Europe won't be too far behind.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek is reporting that EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said that Google should send an offer to EU regulators to settle the ordeal in January. Almunia reportedly met with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt today. Aoife White reports:
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he expects “Google to come forward with a detailed commitment text in January” that would allow the Brussels-based authority to end the probe into allegations that the world’s largest search engine operator discriminates against rivals.
“I have decided to continue with the process towards reaching an agreement” to settle the investigation, Almunia said in an e-mailed statement. “Since our preliminary talks with Google started in July, we have substantially reduced our differences.”
Earlier this week, a report came out (also from Bloomberg) that Google will offer "voluntary concessions" that will end the FTC's probe "without any enforcement action".
It's looking more and more like Google is going to come away from all of this relatively unscathed, even if it has to make some minor changes to how advertisers can take their campaigns away from Google's system (and wouldn't that really fit into Google's whole Data Liberation Front mentality anyway?).