Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) submitted its proposals to the European Commission to settle the antitrust complaint filed against it for allegedly abusing its dominance in the online search business.
On Friday, a spokesperson for Joaquin Almunia, the vice president for competition policy of the European Commission, confirmed that it had received a detailed proposal from the search engine giant in response to the directive of the competition chief to address its four primary concerns by the end of January.
According to Antoine Colombani, the spokesperson for Almunia said, the European Commission would now analyze Google’s proposals. “We’ve received detailed proposals. We made clear from the start that we wanted Google to submit concrete proposals on each of the four proposals. As to the next steps, I cannot yet anticipate those.”
On the other hand, Al Verney, spokesperson for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), said the company “continues to work cooperatively with the commission.”
A report from the Wall Street Journal cited that Google might end up paying a penalty of 10% of its revenue ($4 billion), if it fails to address the concerns and is found guilty of violating antitrust rules.
The European Commission started its antitrust investigation into Google in November 2010, after its competitors including Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and other smaller online companies in France, Germany, Spain, UK, and United States alleged that the search engine giant abused its dominant market position in online search.
The investigation of the European Commission focused on complaints that Google favored its own services by reducing the visibility and lowering the quality score of sponsored links of competitors, imposed exclusivity obligations on advertisers, shutting out competing search tools and restricting the portability of online advertising campaign data to competing online advertising platforms.
Fairsearch, a group that represents 17 complainants, commented that regulators must ensure that the search engine giant’s abusive behavior should be resolved, such as its practice of “blacklisting competing companies in search results”. Fairsearch said Google’s proposal should “truly restore competition in the marketplace”.
Almunia previously stated that the commission would file a formal antitrust complaint against Google if its proposal fails to resolve the complaints.
Some media reports last Thursday citing unnamed sources, alleged that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) submitted some similar steps it has already agreed to in the investigation of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), such as sharing more information through its advertising APIs and not scraping web contents of competitors.
Last month, the FTC unanimously voted that Google did not manipulate its web search results to block its rivals in the search business. According to the agency, “the evidence does not support a claim that Google’s prominent display of its own content on its general search page was undertaken without legitimate justification.”