360° Coverage : Google reaches agreement with EU in antitrust case

2 Updates

Google reaches agreement with EU in antitrust case

Feb 5 2014, 12:03pm CST | by

EU accepts Google's latest concessions on search display, bringing final deal in sight BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday accepted "far-reaching"...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

29 weeks ago

Google reaches agreement with EU in antitrust case

Feb 5 2014, 12:03pm CST | by

EU accepts Google's latest concessions on search display, bringing final deal in sight

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's antitrust watchdog on Wednesday accepted "far-reaching" concessions offered by Google to settle allegations it is abusing its dominant position in Internet searches, bringing the three-year-old case close to an end.

Google would significantly change the ways it displays some search results in Europe in favor of its competitors. But reaching a settlement will spare the company a longer antitrust procedure that could have resulted in fines of up to 10 percent of the company's annual revenue, or about $5 billion.

EU Antitrust Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he's "strongly convinced" the U.S. company's proposals — its third attempt to address the competition concerns — are sufficient.

"This is an important step forward," he told reporters in Brussels.

Google's proposals will now be sent to the 18 original plaintiffs for evaluation before the Commission makes a final decision in the coming months. The plaintiffs' initial reactions were negative, but Almunia said he was confident the deal with Google will be upheld.

Under its latest proposal, Google will commit to display results from three competitors in a similar way to its own whenever it promotes its specialized search services like Google shopping, restaurant or hotel searches. It will also label more clearly search results stemming from its own services to allow users to distinguish between natural search results and those promoted by Google.

A shopping search for a gas grill, for example, would yield two boxes of the same size and position at the top of the search results page, one showing three "Google shopping results" and immediately to the left of it three results labeled "Alternatives", according to an example provided by the Commission.

At present, only Google's own results are displayed prominently above all other search results. The changes will also be valid for search results displayed on mobile devices.

"Without preventing Google from improving its own services, it provides users with real choice between competing services presented in a comparable way," Almunia said.

The results from three competing search providers would be chosen using Google's web search algorithm. In many cases, the competitors would have to pay for their placement through an auction mechanism, the Commission said.

The EU Commission last year threw out two sets of proposed concessions by Google because they were deemed insufficient.

"We will be making significant changes to the way Google operates in Europe," said Kent Walker, Google's general counsel. "The company now looks forward to resolving the matter for good," he added.

Once a settlement is reached, the concessions will be legally binding for five years across the 28-country European Union, the world's largest economy. The company, based in Mountain View, California, has a market share of about 90 percent of Internet searches in Europe, compared with around 70 percent in the U.S.

"The concessions are far-reaching and have the clear potential of restoring a level playing field with competitors, said Almunia. "No antitrust authority in the world has obtained such concessions."

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigated Google in a similar case last year and decided not to take action.

Google's competitors, however, were not impressed. Internet commerce lobby group Icomp said the Commission should have given Google's competitors more time to examine and test the concessions.

"Without a third party review, Almunia risks having the wool pulled over his eyes by Google," the group said.

FairSearch, a Microsoft-led group of Google's tech competitors that includes firms like Oracle, Expedia and Tripadvisor, condemned the Commission's move as being "worse than doing nothing."

Its lawyer Thomas Vinje said the proposed commitments will "lock in discrimination and raise rivals' costs instead of solving the problem of Google's anti-competitive practices."

Google has already offered several concessions to the EU. It will give content providers an opt-out from its specialized search services, without being penalized regarding its ranking in normal Google searches. Google will also remove some exclusivity requirements in agreements with publishers and make it easier to move online advertising campaigns from its services to rivals' offerings.

A separate antitrust investigation on Google's Android operating system is still ongoing, Almunia said.

___

Follow Juergen Baetz on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jbaetz

___

Screenshots illustrating Google's concessions can be found online: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-87_en.htm

Source: AP Business

 
Update
2

3 days ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,00 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

4 days ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Associated Press</a>
The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Nigeria to get Japanese drug for Ebola treatment
Abuja, Sep 2 (IANS) Nigeria will soon get a Japanese drug to treat Ebola, the country's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said Monday.
 
 
Japan to aid connectivity upgrade in northeast India
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) India and Japan Monday decided to strengthen cooperation for improving connectivity and socio-economic development in northeastern states of India.
 
 
Three Ebola cases recorded in Nigeria oil hub
Abuja, Sep 1 (IANS) At least three cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been recorded in Nigeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt, where a fatality was confirmed last week, the country's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu said here Monday.
 
 
India, Japan to elevate strategic partnership
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said relations with Japan were of the "highest priority" for his government and announced a slew of initiatives, including turning the strategic partnership into a "special" partnership and a fast-track channel for Japanese investors.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Modi focuses on women's empowerment, education
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday stressed on the need for women's empowerment in the present-day world as he began the fourth day of his visit to Japan. Modi, who was addressing students of the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
George Clooney's back pain continues
Los Angeles, Sep 2 (IANS) Almost 10 years after filming the Oscar-nominated movie "Syriana", actor George Clooney is still feeling the effects of his on-set back injury. The actor traveled to Duke University earlier...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Carrie Underwood is pregnant
Carrie Underwood is pregnant. The former 'American Idol' winner, 31, and husband Mike Fisher announced on Twitter tonight (09.01.14) that they're expecting their first child together. The blonde beauty posted a...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
50 Cent buys son miniature car
50 Cent bought his son a miniature car for his birthday. The 39-year-old rapper - whose real name is Curtis James Jackson - surprised Sire with a little Mercedes ML450 SUV, a smaller representation of his own vehicle,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Kirsten Dunst criticises Apple for leaked photos
Kirsten Dunst has hit out at Apple after naked photographs of her were allegedly leaked online. The 32-year-old actress took to her Twitter account last night (09.01.14) to criticize the American multinational...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Daisy Lowe feels 'rubbish' without exercise
Daisy Lowe feels ''rubbish'' if she doesn't exercise at least three times a week. The 25-year-old model admits she maintains her enviable figure by working out on a regular basis, but she still enjoys tucking in to...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Paul Smith collaborates with Led Zeppelin
London, Sep 2 (IANS) British fashion designer Paul Smith has collaborated with legendary rock band Led Zeppelin for his latest scarf collection. The London-based designer has teamed-up with the band to create the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
US continues air strikes against IS in Iraq
Washington, Sep 2 (IANS) US forces continued their attack on Islamic State (IS) militants in northern Iraq with three more air strikes conducted Monday, the army said. The strikes destroyed three IS trucks and...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
13 killed in Baghdad bomb blasts
Baghdad, Sep 2 (IANS) As many as 13 people have been killed in two explosions in Iraq's capital Baghdad Monday, a police source said. Thirteen people were killed and 45 others injured when two car bombs exploded in...
Read more on Politics Balla