Government // Mobile & Wireless
News
4/25/2013
02:26 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU

Without admitting guilt, Google proposes changes to its business practices in Europe.

Google Nexus 7, Take Two: What To Expect
Google Nexus 7, Take Two: What To Expect
(click image for slideshow)
To resolve European antitrust concerns, Google has proposed four ways it is willing to change its business practices, and the European Commission on Thursday solicited feedback on the proposal.

Following its two-and-a-half-year investigation of Google's business practices, the Commission concluded that Google may be violating EU antitrust rules by: giving preference to Google services in search results; using third-party original content in its own specialized search services; requiring online publishers running Google ads to forgo ads from rivals; and contractually limiting the transfer of ad campaign data to rival search ad platforms.

In response, Google has committed to a series of concessions that, if accepted, will change the way the company operates. Google states that its proposal is not an admission of competition rule violations. Rather, the company says it is willing to modify its business practices "to avoid the time, inconvenience and expense of ongoing proceedings ..."

[ Want more Google news? Read Google Eyes Social News Aggregator Wavii. ]

Google is offering: to label and visually separate links to its specialized search services (like flight search) that it promotes in general search results lists, and to promote three rival specialized search services in a clearly visible area; to allow specialized search services (like Yelp) to prevent Google from using their content in its own specialized search service (like Google Local), and to give news publishers page-level control of Google News inclusion; to stop requiring that publishers use Google ads exclusively; and to drop its advertising API restrictions.

In January, Google settled a Federal Trade Commission inquiry with fewer concessions. At the time, FairSearch.org, a lobbying group backed by Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, and online travel and marketing companies, complained that the FTC's inaction would embolden Google to further abuse its monopoly power.

The group doesn't sound much happier with Google's latest proposal. Thomas Vinje, counsel and spokesman for FairSearch Europe, said in a statement that while the group welcomed the Commission's findings, "Google's proposed commitments appear to fall short of ending the preferential treatment at the heart of the Commission's case ..."

While FairSearch argues for stronger remedies to curb Google, the European Commission felt the need to explain why it's being harder on Google than the FTC was in the U.S. "The factual and legal environments are different in the U.S. and Europe," the Commission explained on its website. "In particular, Bing and Yahoo represent a substantial alternative to Google in Web search in the USA: their combined market share is around 30%. In contrast, Google has been holding market shares well above 90% in most European countries for a number of years."

Over the course of a month, the European Commission will test Google's proposed changes in the market while accepting public comment. If the changes achieve the desired results, the Commission will issue a decision making them legally binding. If Google then violates its agreement, it could face fines of up to 10% of its annual worldwide revenue.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Jack Roberts
50%
50%
Jack Roberts,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 8:02:40 PM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
Screw the EU anti-capitalist communist hegemony. Just ignore them and don't pay the fine, someone needs to stand up to these greedy corrupt bureaucrats.
sensi
50%
50%
sensi,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 9:15:13 PM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
You are such an ignorant and childish clich+ that it is definitely pitiful. The EU is again defending a free and competitive market along its anti-trust policies while the US have looked the other way for more than a decade, hence the too numerous American companies seeking justice in Europe.
anonymous
50%
50%
anonymous,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 10:24:23 PM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
good one J.R.
Mantis Vyden
50%
50%
Mantis Vyden,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 9:43:25 PM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
Europe used to be the global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship....like 200 years ago.
sensi
50%
50%
sensi,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 9:54:45 PM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
Oh Jeez, another IW "pundit", another irrelevant and fact-less comment. Please educate yourself then tell us how the nowadays European CERN and its LHC project, or the upcoming ITER project, aren't part of that "global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship"... Ludicrous.
anonymous
50%
50%
anonymous,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 10:27:56 PM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
Sensi back off. really take a chill pill. next your going to insult my post. nobody cares what you think, if you have to go around insulting people to make you feel better woo hoo for you.
nutjob2
50%
50%
nutjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 8:00:21 AM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
No, I'm going to insult your post because you're ignorant and hypocritical. You'll understand one day when you're older than 11.
nutjob2
50%
50%
nutjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/26/2013 | 7:58:20 AM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
Yeah GSM was America's idea, right?
anonymous
50%
50%
anonymous,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 10:20:46 PM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
Really. How can Google trust them!?! There name is antitrust. They may as well be wearing neon shirts that say do not trust us we are your enemies. So good one Jack Roberts.
anonymous
50%
50%
anonymous,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/25/2013 | 10:22:24 PM
re: Google Floats Antitrust Concessions To EU
Woah back off sensi.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and community news at InformationWeek.com.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.