Google Prepares To Make Settlement With EU Over Antitrust Probe

Posted Jul 2, 2012

Google is making an offering to settle antitrust charges after an ultimatum by European Union regulators. EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia set a deadline for early July for Google to resolve concerns of more than a dozen rivals including Microsoft or face major charges.

“We have made a proposal to address the four areas the European Commission described as potential concerns. We continue to work cooperatively with the Commission,” stated Google spokesman Al Verney.  Almunia’s spokesman Antoine Colombani said that the EU received a letter from Google chairman Eric Schmidt today.

In May, Almunia identified 4 areas that are related to Google’s business practices after an 18 month investigation.  Rivals believe that Google favored their own search engine and may have copied travel and restaurant reviews from competing websites without permission.  The FairSearch coalition, which includes companies like Expedia and TripAdvisor, hopes that the proposals would address their concerns.

“We hope the proposals reflect a greater willingness to end Google’s anti-competitive behavior than has its consistent rejection of the concerns that Almunia identified after collecting evidence for nearly two years,” stated FairSearch’s lawyer Thomas Vinje.