EU tells Google, make antitrust concessions within weeks, or face a fine

The three-year case could end soon

Europe's competition chief is running out of patience with Google's attempts to avoid an antitrust fine.

Speaking in Brussels on Wednesday, E.U. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that the search giant has one more chance to make an offer and that he wanted more concessions from Google within weeks.

"I am waiting for the reaction from Google. Unfortunately after the second round of proposals, I am not satisfied -- we need more. And we need more, not in the next year, but in the next few weeks," he said.

Google has been under investigation by the European Commission since November 2010, after rivals accused the search giant of setting its algorithm to direct users to its own services by reducing the visibility of competing websites and services. It was also accused of content-scraping and imposing contractual restrictions that prevent advertisers from moving their online campaigns to rival search engines.

Rather than proceed directly to punitive action -- which could be up to 10 percent of Google's annual global revenue --  Almunia chose to try to work out a set of remedies under a so-called Article 9 procedure. This allows the company under investigation to present proposals to rectify possible violations. If these proposals are accepted by the Commission, they become legally binding.

Google's first set of proposals were rejected last July and in October the Internet giant submitted revised proposals. Rivals and other interested parties were once again asked to review the proposals, and found them severely lacking.

Almunia said that he has taken criticism of Google's proposals very seriously and said that the negative feedback on the proposals was not just from complainants in the case. In his clearest signal yet that a fine may be in the offing, Almunia said on Wednesday, that if he doesn't get a satisfactory response from Google within weeks, then he would approach the case in a more "traditional" way.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Tags advertisingJoaquin AlmuniaantitrustInternet-based applications and servicesGooglelegalinternetsearch enginesanalytics

Recommended

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?