Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) could settle the antitrust investigation of the competition regulators of the European Union after the search engine giant formally submitted a package of concessions to the European Commission. Additionally, Google could settle the probe without paying any penalty, according to report from Reuters.
The European Commission evaluated the initial proposals submitted by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in January that would resolve the concerns of 12 competitors particularly Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT). The commission started its antitrust investigation against the search engine giant in 2010.
Antoine Colombani, spokesperson for the European Commission competition policy said, “In the last few weeks, the Commission completed its preliminary assessment formally setting out its concerns. On this basis, Google then made a formal submission of commitments to the Commission.”
In addition, Colombani said, “We are now preparing the launch of a market test to seek feedback from market players, including complainants, on these commitment proposals.”
On the other hand, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) spokesperson Al Verney stated that the search engine giant is continuing its cooperation with the commission to resolve the issue. Reuters states that a settlement could prevent Google from paying a penalty of approximately $5 billion or 10 percent of its 2012 revenue.
People familiar with the situation had previously disclosed that Google offered to label its own services in search results to distinguish it from the services of its rivals as a concession. The search engine giant also offered to implement less restrictions on advertisers.
The commission stated that there is a possibility Google violated antitrust rules by pushing its own services, copying travel and restaurant reviews from competing sites without permission, and restricting advertisers from transferring to competitors.
A market test to be conducted by antitrust regulators will determine if the commission would accept Google’s proposals or require the company to submit more ways to resolve the issues raised by rivals.
Based on data from ComScore, Google’s internet search market share in Europe is over 80 percent.
Last January, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ended its investigation against Google without implementing any significant penalties. The FTC directed Google to change some of its current business strategies and stop scraping the content of its rivals. The agency also said it will vigorously monitor the search engine giant’s practices. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was unhappy with the FTC’s decision.