EU Regulator Receives Detailed Proposal from Google
By David Gilbert | February 1, 2013 8:26 PM EST
In a bid to allay fears over anti-competitive behaviour Google has presented detailed proposals about its business practices to the EU antitrust regulator, in a move which brings the company a step closer to ending a two-year investigation.
The European Commission has been investigating the world's biggest search engine following complaints from more than a dozen companies, including Microsoft, that Google has used its market power to block rivals.
Essentially Microsoft and others are alleging that Google promotes its own services within search results artificially, ahead of services from competitors.
Asked if he had received Google's proposal to resolve the matter, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told Reuters: "Yes."
He declined to provide details on the proposal, adding only: "We are analysing it."
The Commission, which acts as competition regulator in the 27-member European Union, is now expected to seek feedback from Google rivals and other interested parties.
Almunia said in December he was giving Google until this month to present a comprehensive offer to allay regulatory concerns and stave off a possible fine, which could be as much as 10 percent of global turnover if a company is found to be in breach of EU rules.
The Commission has said Google may have favored its own search services over those of rivals, and copied travel and restaurant reviews from competing sites without permission.
The EU executive is also concerned the company may have put restrictions on advertisers and advertising to prevent them from moving their online campaigns to competing search engines.
Earlier this month, Google won a major victory when thye Federal Trade Commission in the US ended their 20-month investigaiton when Google volunteered to alter its business practices so that its own services are not favoured by its search engine.
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