Reports: US regulators move closer to suing Google

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are

moving closer to suing Google over allegations that the company has

abused its dominance

of Internet search to stifle competition and drive up online

advertising prices, news reports said Friday.

Several news outlets reported that staff members at the Federal Trade Commission are preparing to recommend that the agency

file an antitrust lawsuit against the search giant. A majority of the five FTC commissioners would have to approve a suit

before legal action could proceed.

The reports from The New York Times, Bloomberg News and Reuters cited unnamed people briefed on the FTC's investigation.

FTC spokesman Peter Kaplan declined to comment.

The agency has been investigating Google's

business practices. The probe was triggered by complaints that Google

Inc. has

been highlighting its peripheral services in its influential

search results and relegating offerings from its rivals to the

back pages.

The FTC also has been looking into whether Google has rigged its results in a way that has prodded websites to pay more to

promote their services through Google's advertising network.

In a statement Friday, Google said, "We are happy to answer any questions that regulators have about our business."

Google is based in Mountain View, Calif.