Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is in trouble with the European Union. It’s no secret that many have accused Google of abusing their high market position. Now it appears that the EU wants to do something about it.
Last May, the EU admitted their concerns about Google’s supposed anti-competitive behavior, and one of their commissioners, Joaquin Almunia, expressed more concern over not matters of the EU but the entire world. And unlike their previous cases, Almunia wants this case solved faster.
One watchdog from the EU claimed that Google’s search results favor their own products over those from rivals, and have copied materials from review websites without permission.
Obviously, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) doesn’t want a long case either, but they’re already concerned about the high penalty fees they may end up paying. Back in 1998, the EU made a case against Microsoft, and it was a lengthy one, as the final judgement against Google’s rival happened earlier this year. They ended up paying $1 billion in euros.
This week, Google was offered a choice in Brussels, Belgium. The choices included offering concessions to a head-off of the charges, or to take on the antitrust regulators in court, which would cost more money and time. Google sought for a truce, and even offered to compromise by changing some of their behaviors in order to remedy the issue at hand.
Almunia apparently agreed with Google’s option, and decided that Google came up with some good solutions. It’s reported that the outlines of a deal were made. Google has yet to publicly disclose their plan but it looks like all four of the most important issues were addressed.
It’s important to point out that Google isn’t out of the woods yet. It will probably take months of talks between the search engine giant and the EU. Moreover, Almunia still claims that he may still go after Google’s Android operating system in the near future.
I’m not really sure what the problem with Google is over here. I think it’s natural that Google would use their websites to promote their own products. If it’s true that they have copied material from other websites without permission, that is wrong. It’s not clear if Almunia is going after Google’s business practices, or if they are really just after their money. Obviously, there is probably a lot more to the case that’s not being reported. For now, I say we give Google the benefit of the doubt.