Following a lengthy antitrust investigation of its search and advertising practices, Google has submitted a proposal to the EU that details concessions the company is willing to make. Now European regulators have made that proposal public and are asking for comments.
The Wall Street Journal’s Vanessa Mock reported, “European Union regulators have given Google Inc.’s competitors and other interested parties one month to respond to the search engine’s proposals to address concerns that it is abusing its dominance in Internet search practices. Google submitted formal proposals earlier this month in a bid to end a probe by the European Commission launched in late 2010 over the way it ranks and displays Internet search results and over its advertising contracts with other websites. If accepted by the commission, Google, which enjoys a market share of more than 90% in Europe, would have to make the proposals binding for a period of five years. If Google breaks its final commitments, it could be fined up to 10% of its global annual revenue.”
PCMag’s Chloe Albanesius recalled, “Last month… the commission formally informed Google that it might violate EU antitrust rules in four specific ways: prioritizing its own services in search results; using third-party content on its own services without permission; as well as restrictive rules for AdWords’s customers and their ability to transfer campaigns to rival services.”
CNET’s Stephen Shankland noted, “Google’s proposal for resolving a European investigation into anticompetitive practices in search includes labeling its own services in search results, showing services from rivals nearby, and letting specialized search services block Google from using their content.”
According to TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden, “Swiftly, ICOMP, one of the chief lobbying organizations fighting against the search giant, has already issued a preliminary response: Google’s commitments may be ‘too little, too late.’ ‘It is clear that mere labelling is not any kind of solution to the competition concerns that have been identified,’ ICOMP notes in a statement. ‘Google should implement the same ranking policy to all websites. This should include their own vertical services which currently have their ranking unfairly manipulated to appear at or near the top of search results.’ ICOMP includes companies like Microsoft, football’s Premier League as well as Streetmap, which is currently suing Google in the UK over its search practices.”