plenary

The European Union’s long-running anti-trust case against Google, in which the search company was accused of using its dominant position in search to stifle competition, looks set to finally be resolved – though we may have to wait until Spring to learn the details.

Reuters reports that Google has made new proposals, which the EU suggests is likely to lead to a settlement.

Joaquin Almunia told lawmakers in the European Parliament he believed the new offer made it easier to see Google’s rivals when making an internet search.

“We have reached a key moment in this case,” Almunia said.

“Now with the significant improvements on the table I think we have the possibility to work again.

“If our investigation of this improved proposal is satisfactory then we will continue the commitments route and end up with a formal decision next spring,” he said, adding: “I think that the settlement route remains the best choice” … 

The EC had previously said it was “almost 100% certain” to reject Google’s earlier proposals, which were 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

No details on the fresh proposals have as yet been released by either side.

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