US' Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wanted to bring antitrust charges against Google for abusing its monopoly power in a 2012 investigation, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.
The FTC investigators found that the internet giant had used anticompetitive tactics that hurt competitors like Yelp and TripAdvisor, according to a report obtained by WSJ. The probe was originally launched due to allegations that Google was allegedly prevented companies that syndicated its search results from working with other search engines. It was found that the internet giant was scraping sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor for data to improve its own search results.
WSJ quotes this section of the report: "It is clear that Google’s threat was intended to produce, and did produce, the desired effect, which was to coerce Yelp and TripAdvisor into backing down."
FTC staffers concluded that Google's "conduct has resulted-and will result-in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets and harmed its rivals". The report recommended suing Google for several of its business practices, however FTC's commissioners voted unanimously to end the investigation after Google made some changes to how it did business. Google maintains that was innocent of any wrong doings.
Google said in a statement that "after an exhaustive 19-month review, covering 9 million pages of documents and many hours of testimony, the FTC staff and all five commissioner agreed that there was no need to take action on how we rank and display search results. Speculation about potential consumer and competitor harm turned out to be entirely wrong."