This is probably not the news Larry Page and friends wanted to hear on a Friday afternoon. Unnamed sources have told Reuters that “the majority of top decision-makers at the Federal Trade Commission believe that an antitrust case should be brought against Google (GOOG),” thus potentially setting up the biggest tech antitrust case since the Department of Justice filed suit against Microsoft (MSFT) in 1998.
How bad does this sound for Google? Pretty bad: Reuters‘ sources say four of the five FTC commissioners “have become convinced after more than a year of investigation that Google illegally used its dominance of the search market to hurt its rivals” while the remaining commissioner is described as merely “skeptical” rather than outright opposed. And if the FTC does file suit, it won’t be a standard public-versus-private sector battle because Reuters notes that “a long list of companies has been complaining to the FTC, arguing that the agency should crack down on Google.”