Microsoft: FTC's Google decision was a missed opportunity

He also argued that Google got a better deal on its use of standard essential patents than Microsoft and other companies have gotten in the past.

The patents, which Google acquired when it bought Motorola Mobility last year, cover standard wireless technologies used across the industry. Motorola had promised to license the patents on fair and reasonable terms.

The FTC settlement requires Google to go through third-party mediation before suing to block other companies use of the technologies. But Heiner argued that commitment is weak when compared with what Microsoft and other companies were forced to accept in similar cases.

"We are disappointed that the FTC accepted less relief from Google than the DOJ obtained from Microsoft and Apple last year and the FTC obtained from Bosch in a separate case just a few weeks ago," he wrote.

The most significant issue in the FTC's investigation was whether Google manipulated its search results to promote its own services and demote competitors. 

The FTC concluded that the primary motivation for changes to Google's search algorithm was to improve the experience for users, not restrict competition.

"Yet we know that Google routinely and systematically heavily promotes its own services in search results. Is Google+ really more relevant than Facebook? Are Google’s travel results better than those offered by Expedia, Kayak and others? We also know that Google ranks shopping results (the most important category commercially) in part on the basis of how much advertisers pay to Google for placement, after very publicly promising that it would never do so," Heiner wrote." This does not sound like product improvement." 

Heiner expressed hope that the European Commission will extract tougher concessions from Google when it completes its investigation in the coming weeks.

On Google's blog, David Drummond, the company's chief legal officer, said the commission's conclusion was clear: "Google’s services are good for users and good for competition."