Google Dodges Fine with EU Antitrust Deal
As The Wall Street Journal reports, Google has clinched a settlement in its high-profile case with European Union antitrust regulators to address concerns that it is abusing its dominance in online search.
EU Antitrust Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that he’s “strongly convinced” the new proposals sufficiently address the competition concerns, marking a major milestone in the three-year-old case. “This is an important step forward,” he told reporters in Brussels.
Google had been accused of giving favourable treatment to its own products in search results. The company said it looked forward to resolving the matter.
As FT reports, on the European Commission’s side, there is still going to be a final approval process. The groups that filed the original complaint against Google will be consulted, but it will not be a formal “market test”. The commission will monitor whether Google sticks to its promises.
The agreement means the world’s dominant search engine has avoided a process that could have lead to a fine of up to $5 billion, or 10 percent of its 2012 revenue. It must stick to the deal for the next five years. Google has a market share of about 90 percent of Internet searches in Europe, compared with around 70 percent in the U.S.
However, Google may still face a second EU investigation, this time into its Android operating system for smartphones, with potentially bigger risks for the company.