Brussels - The European Commission on Monday invited Google's competitors and other stakeholders to evaluate concessions the US internet giant has made as part of its bid to eschew a hefty European Union fine, the bloc's executive said.
“The commission is seeking feedback from complainants and other relevant market participants on the improved commitments proposals by Google,” said Antoine Colombani, spokesman for EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.
The commission has been probing Google practices since November 2010, after competitors such as Microsoft complained about its dominance in the internet search engine market.
Google has a 90-per-cent share of the general web search market in Europe.
Almunia recently expressed hope of reaching a settlement by early next year with Google, which could otherwise receive a penalty of up to 10 per cent of its global turnover.
The online search engine was prepared to make “significant” changes to the way it displays results, the commissioner said earlier this month, after initial amendments drew “very negative” feedback from complainants, stakeholders and interested parties.
The changes include prominently displaying search results from three competitors and flagging them as such; enabling competitors to opt out of appearing in specialised searches - such as Google Shopping - without being penalised in overall rankings; and making its online ads business AdWords more compatible with other platforms.
“We've made significant changes to address the commission's concerns, greatly increasing the visibility of rival services and addressing other specific issues,” said Google spokesman Al Verney.
“Unfortunately, our competitors seem less interested in resolving things than in entangling us in a never-ending dispute,” Verney added.
The participants in the first feedback round - about 100
companies and other entities - now have four weeks to comment on the proposed changes. - Sapa-dpa