European Commission started its anti-trust investigations against Google few years back and Google tried to convince EU couple of times with its new proposals and failed miserably. Earlier this year, EC announced that it has obtained an improved commitments proposal from Google in the context of the ongoing antitrust investigation on online search and search advertising. In its proposal, Google then accepted to guarantee that whenever it promotes its own specialised search services on its web page (e.g. for products, hotels, restaurants, etc.), the services of three rivals, selected through an objective method, will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services. This principle will apply not only for existing specialised search services, but also to changes in the presentation of those services and for future services.
Today, Financial Times reported that EC may reopen this draft antitrust settlement with Google. Since Google proposed the above changes as part of antitrust settlements, all of the rivals in the case opposed it. Even though EU’s competitive chief seems to be satisfied with Google’s proposals, his fellow EC Commissioners, ministers from Germany and France have expressed their dissatisfaction.
Google’s rivals are fiercely critical of aspects of the provisional pact, and some of their arguments are now being taken seriously by the European Commission, according to people familiar with the process.
While the commission will take a decision on what to do in September after all complainants’ comments have been assessed, Google will be alarmed that its third package of concessions may not bring the investigation to a close.
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