Google Offers Settlement for EU Investigation

Google Offers Settlement for EU Investigation
<a href="">WDnetStudio</a> / Pixabay

Google Offers Settlement for EU InvestigationIn an effort to put an end to an anti-trust investigation, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has offered a settlement to European Union regulators.

The company ended the commission’s review through a letter by its Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia, reported Bloomberg. The settlement addressed the “four areas the European Commission described” as possible concerns, according to Google spokesman Al Verney. He added, “We continue to work cooperatively with the commission.”

Details of the proposals have not been disclosed.

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According to the New York Times, should Almunia accept Google’s offer, the company could dodge a guilty finding against it. That could potentially limit its future European business activities. It would also enable the company to bypass a potential fine that could reach up to 10 percent of its annual global revenue. In 2011, this number reached $37.9 billion.

The EU’s call for a Google settlement has been viewed as infrequent move by the commission. So why now? It is looking to pick up the pace to resolve antitrust cases, especially in the technology arena before possible remedies lose their importance.

In prior European antitrust including U.S. technology companies such as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), regulatory investigations sometimes took about a decade to resolve before the EU told companies to make changes to their business practices, noted the New York Times.

For Google, efforts to reach a settlement have been going on since May. Almunia had asked the company for a settlement offer regarding  issues over promoting its own specialist search services, copying rivals’ travel and restaurant reviews, and agreements with websites and software developers preventing advertising industry competition.

In June, Alumnia also threatened to write Google a formal antitrust complaint if its proposal was not satisfactory.

Google is facing rising pressure from global regulators reviewing whether the company is curbing competition for Web searches. Joining the reviews are the Federal Trade Commission and Argentina and South Korea antitrust agencies.



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