Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has offered to make changes in its search results in Europe for five years to settle the anti-trust case with European Union regulators. The European Commission had received several complaints from competitors that the world’s largest search engine giant abuses its dominant position in the market to favor its own search results. Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) enjoys near-monopoly position in Europe.
The European Commission announced to start market testing so that competitors in the industry could weigh in. Regulators said that they had to intervene because Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has a strong position in most European countries for the past many years, and it is unlikely that any other search service will replace it in the near future. The market testing will go on for a month, and the two parties could reach a final settlement after the summer. A third party will ensure compliance.
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If the European Commission accepts the deal, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will easily avoid a fine. But the Mountain View, California-based company may face a hefty fine if it doesn’t deliver on its promises. By agreeing to change the search display, the search engine giant will easily escape the tedious and expensive battles that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) faced in Europe.
Now Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will label results from its own services like YouTube as Google properties. These labeled search results will appear in a box separate from general search results in case the company makes money from ads that appear with the results. Other Google services like News, Maps and Weather where it doesn’t generate ad revenues will also be marked, but with a lighter outline. Google Inc. also agreed to display at least three results from its competitors.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will also have to address the concerns of news websites and print publishers, who have complained that their search results disappeared from the search engine because Google Inc. considered them a competitive threat.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has taken more than a year to develop this proposal, reports the New York Times. Google Inc. shares were almost flat at $813.62 in early market trading.