The Federal Trade Commission might be getting ready to sue Google over Android. Again.
At issue this time is the "Google bundle," or the core group of apps and services Google requires on every android phone. Docs, Search, YouTube, those sorts of things.
"The key thing is to watch this and see whether it's going to have legs, and whether they're trying to catch up to the European competition officials who are already looking at this issue over there," said Bloomberg's Sara Forden.
The Justice Department has greenlit the FTC to move forward, if it chooses to. But the FTC has a history of not suing Google when antitrust comes up.
Google's recent projects
The FTC might actually sue Google this time
A Google Street View vehicle collects imagery for Google Maps while driving down a street in Calais, northern France, on July 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)
An attendee looks through a Legendary Pictures Inc. branded Google Cardboard VR (virtual reality) viewer during the Comic-Con International convention in San Diego, California, U.S., on Thursday, July 9, 2015. Comic-Con International is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of comics and related popular art forms. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A PrecisionHawk employee demonstrates a drone featuring LATAS (Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System) in Durham, North Carolina, U.S., on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. Google Inc. is joining some of the biggest companies in technology, communications and aviation -- including Amazon.com Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Harris Corp. -- in trying to create an air-traffic control system to prevent mid-air collisions. PrecisionHawk, a Raleigh, North Carolina, drone company with about 100 employees, began developing its own drone traffic control system because the large agriculture and oil companies it flies for wanted something to keep tabs on unmanned flights. Photographer: Jason Arthurs/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Google staff explain the new 'Internet Cycles' that are designed to bring Internet training to Indian villages after its launch in Mumbai on July 3, 2015. Tata Trusts and Google India launched a special program called Internet Saathi to empower women and their communities in rural India by enabling them to benefit from the Internet. The joint initiative is aimed at bridging the technology gender divide, which currently puts women in rural India at further risk of getting marginalized in the society as the world around them benefits from getting online. AFP PHOTO / INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)
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It closed a 2012 inquiry into whether Google was using Motorola patents as ammunition for lawsuits against other companies. Google settled before the FTC had to bring a case.
It took issue with some industry commentary on the closure, which suggested close working relationships between Google and FTC staffers might have influenced that outcome.
"Not a single fact is offered to substantiate this misleading narrative."
But Bloomberg's anonymous insiders still wonder if this new investigation will really be any different.
"The FTC's handling of the earlier probe left some technology companies skeptical of the agency's willingness to bring a case" against Google.
Now it's the commission's move. The FTC would have to make an official statement of objection if it does want to pursue a case, which would give Google an opportunity to respond.