Almunia Stories October 1, 2013

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” …  expand full story

Almunia Stories February 1, 2013

Google hands in settlement proposal in EU antitrust probe

As reported by Bloomberg, European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia today confirmed that Google was able to make yesterday’s Jan. 31 deadline for submitting a settlement proposal in the ongoing antitrust investigation. There is no word yet what exactly the proposed settlement might have included, but a spokesperson for Almunia said Google had sent a “detailed proposal.” Google said it continues to “work co-operatively with the commission.” The probe involves whether some of Google’s practices with its search and ad businesses create unfair competition and abuse the company’s dominance.

Almunia had asked Google to submit concessions by the end of January to address allegations that the company promotes its own specialist search-services, copies rivals’ travel and restaurant reviews, and has agreements with websites and software developers that stifle competition in the advertising industry. He first told Google in May that he wanted to settle the case

The issues at the heart of the investigation are not unlike those involved in the Federal Trade Commission’s recent antitrust probe in the United States. Earlier this month, the FTC announced evidence “does not support a claim that Google was abusing placement of search results” and officially closed its investigation. In that case, Google agreed to license its Motorola patents on fair terms to any other company and alter some of its search results “to let websites opt out of having their content scraped without being punished in overall search results.” 

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