EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has told the European Parliament that he is “almost 100% certain” to reject the proposals Google has put forward to address concerns that it is abusing its dominant position in web search to stifle competition, reports Bloomberg.
Google’s proposals, described in more detail in our previous coverage, effectively amount to a commitment to:
- clearly separate sponsored links from organic search results, and to link to rival search services
- allow publishers to choose what content is included in Google’s various search results
- allow website owners to sell advertising from competitor companies alongside Google ads
- allow advertisers to manage search advertising campaigns across competing platforms …
The Commissioner has given Google competitors and customers an additional month to comment on Google’s proposals, though it is unclear why given that it seems the decision is a foregone conclusion. Neither the EU nor lobbying group ICOMP has given specifics as to the reasons for considering Google’s proposals to be inadequate.
“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,” David Wood, a lawyer for Brussels-based industry group ICOMP, which includes Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Foundem, a U.K. shopping comparison website, said by e-mail. “If there are substantial changes, we would expect there to be a new market test.”
Google spokesman Al Verney told Bloomberg that “We believe our proposal to the European Commission addresses the four concerns that were raised. We continue to work with the commission to settle this case.”