Case closed in Google antitrust probe

Comment on this story


iol scitech may 7 google drive

Associated Press

The Google disruption began in the run-up to the 25th anniversary of the government's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

Brussels - The EU hailed on Tuesday proposals that Google has made after regulators launched an anti-trust probe into whether the Internet search giant had abused its dominant market position.

“The (executive European) Commission considers Google's proposals as a good basis for further talks and has now reached a good level of understanding with Google,” said a spokesman for Joaquin Almunia, the commissioner responsible for competition.

“There will soon be discussions at technical level,” the spokesman said. “We hope this process will lead to remedies addressing our concerns.”

The statement came a day before Almunia was to hold a press conference in Brussels.

A Google spokesman in Brussells, Al Verney, said: “We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission.”

Google made its proposals in early July following a demand by EU antitrust officials in May to quickly respond to commission concerns.

At the time, the FairSearch coalition, which includes Microsoft and several airfare comparison websites, said it hoped the letter signals a change by Google.

“We hope the proposals reflect a greater willingness to end Google's anti-competitive behaviour than has its consistent rejection of the concerns that Mr. Almunia identified after collecting evidence for nearly two years,” said Thomas Vinje, EU counsel to the FairSearch coalition.

The European Commission launched its antitrust investigation in November 2010, looking into allegations that Google had abused a dominant market position following complaints from rivals.

Almunia said in May that the probe had identified areas of significant concern in Brussels.

They were: “preferential treatment” in the hierarchical presentation of search results; doubts over Google's full respect of copyrights; and “restrictions” written into advertising contracts and the “portability” of advertising across different Internet platforms.

Microsoft-owned Internet portal Ciao was an early complainant and more than a dozen plaintiffs are now attached to the case.

If satisfied with Google's response, the Commission could close this investigation.

Otherwise it could possibly push forward the case to the next stage with a formal statement of objections.

Fines eventually imposed under this type of probe could reach up to 10 percent of a company's sales - meaning record EU penalties.

Even if this case is closed it would not end all of Google's troubles with EU competition authorities.

It is also facing complaints from travel websites such as Expedia and concerns about Google's Android mobile phone and tablet operating system. - Sapa-AFP

Hungry for more scitech news? Sign up for our daily newsletter


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Join us on

IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks