Google Faces Demand To Improve Compromises For EU Antitrust Probe

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Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will likely face demand from the European Commission to improve its compromises to settle the antitrust investigation on allegations that it abused its dominance in the search market.

Google Faces Demand To Improve Compromises For EU Antitrust Probe

Commissioner Joaquin Almunia of the European Commission acknowledged the criticism against Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). Many believe that the concessions offered by the search engine giant were inadequate. Almunia indicated the possibility that the Commission might ask the company to offer better compromises.

Google’s Settlement Proposals

According to Bloomberg, Commissioner Almunia told lawmakers in Brussels that the deadline on May 27 will be extended for another month to allow complainants, users, and other market players to submit their feedback on the settlement proposals of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG).

Almunia said that regulators will evaluate the feedback, and by that time the Commission should be “almost 100 percent” certain to ask Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) that it needs to improve its proposals.

In an emailed statement, Al Verney, spokesperson for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) said, “We believe our proposals to the European Commission addresses the four concerns that were raised. We continue to work with the commission to settle this case.”

Almunia also stated that any proposals from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) that will resolve the concerns of the commission will be made legally binding. According to him, “I hope that we can succeed to find a possible solution.” Almunia hopes to resolve the case by the end of the year.

Last month, it was reported that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) might be able to settle the EU antitrust probe without paying a penalty after the Commission stated that its concerns were formally set out after its preliminary assessment on the commitments offered by the search engine giant. Google offered to label its own services in search results to differentiate it from the products of its rivals, and to implement fewer restrictions on advertisers.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and other players in the search market accused Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) of abusing its dominant position by pushing its own services, by copying travel and restaurant reviews from competing sites, and by restricting advertisers from transferring to the services of its rivals. The European Commission previously indicated the possibility that the search engine giant violated antitrust regulations.

David Wood, lawyer for Brussel-based industry group ICOMP, which includes Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Foundem, a shopping comparison website based in United Kingdom commented,  “The current set of proposed remedies is clearly unacceptable and it is very unlikely that they can be improved to the point at which they are effective in ending search discrimination and restoring effective competition. If there are substantial changes, we would expect there to be a new market test.”

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