Google nears settlement with EU Commission over antitrust concerns

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31/07/2012
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Google and the European Commission are close to reaching an agreement to settle an anti-trust case, the European competition authorities said this week. This would avoid the internet company a lengthy and risky legal battle and a potentially hefty fine.

Following an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google abused its dominance of the internet search and advertising markets, Europe's competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia, had asked Google to make concessions in four areas or face formal antitrust charges. “The commission considers Google's proposals as a good basis for further talks and has now reached a good level of understanding,” said a commission spokesman, Antoine Colombani. He added that meetings on a more technical level would now be held to reach a settlement.

The details of the settlement are not clear, but the four practices identified by Mr. Almunia included the way Google displayed links to its services differently from links to competitors' services, and its use of restaurant and travel reviews from competitors' Web sites. Remedies would apply to PC-based search as well as mobile search services.

The technical aspects of the deal will be finalised in the coming months, before being shared with the complainants – who include Microsoft, Expedia and TripAdvisor.

For more information, please contact Emil Valdelin (e.valdelin@wfanet.org)


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