EU Accepts Google Antitrust Proposal - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Government // Mobile & Wireless
02:11 PM
Connect Directly

EU Accepts Google Antitrust Proposal

Google escapes serious sanctions, but will change the way it displays some search results in Europe.

Google Chromebook Pixel: Visual Tour
Google Chromebook Pixel: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
The European Commission has reportedly agreed to a proposal Google has submitted to address the Commission's antitrust concerns.

Two people familiar with the agreement confirmed the acceptance of Google's proposed settlement to the New York Times. The changes described in the settlement offer are expected to be tested in the market for a month or so before they're finalized.

An EU spokesman said in an email, "In the end of January, Google submitted detailed proposals to try to address the Commission's concerns. In the last few weeks, the Commission completed its Preliminary Assessment formally setting out its concerns. On this basis, Google then made a formal submission of commitments to the Commission. We are now preparing the launch of a market test to seek feedback from market players, including complainants, on these commitment proposals."

Google in an emailed statement said only, "We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission."

[ What's the point of having the Freedom Of Information Act if the government ignores our requests for information? Read The Freedom From Information Act. ]

Last summer, Google's initial proposed settlement was deemed inadequate by the Commission. The specifics of that proposal were not made public, but the Commission has cited four areas of concern: 1) unequal treatment of third-party vertical search links; 2) copying content from vertical search engines; 3) search agreements with partners; and 4) AdWords API restrictions.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the settlement does not conclude that Google abused monopoly power to the detriment of competitors. Last month, a group of 11 companies sent a letter to E.U. competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia urging him to punish Google with serious sanctions.

Nonetheless, it appears that Google will escape the kind of burdensome antitrust remedies imposed on Microsoft at the conclusion of its antitrust trial.

When the FTC said it had concluded its 19-month antitrust investigation into Google's business practices in January,, a group representing Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, and online travel and marketing companies, complained that the lack of serious remedies "will only embolden Google to act more aggressively to misuse its monopoly power to harm other innovators." last week expanded its effort to entangle Google in regulation by filing a complaint with the European Commission about Google's Android operating system. The group accused Google of predatory pricing for offering Android for free.

Google's proposal, according to The Wall Street Journal, will change how Google search results listings appear in Europe. Google reportedly plans to make at least some links to its own websites recognizable as promoted links, a change that will make its universal search less universal.

In addition, when Google promotes its own websites, the company plans to display at least three links to competing search services if those services also have relevant answers to the query. These changes would not apply to paid search services such as Google Shopping and Google Flight Search.

The proposed settlement is said to include some changes similar to those in Google's agreement with the FTC. However, the EU settlement reportedly includes changes to Google's AdSense contract that would allow AdSense publishers to include ads not served by Google.

E2 is the only event of its kind, bringing together business and technology leaders across IT, marketing and other lines of business looking for new ways to evolve their enterprise applications strategy and transform their organizations to achieve business value. Join us June 17-19 for three days of 40+ conference sessions and workshops across eight tracks, and discover the latest insights in enterprise social software, big data and analytics, mobility, cloud, SaaS and APIs, UI/UX and more. Register for E2 Conference Boston today and save $200 off Full Event Passes, $100 off Conference, or get a FREE Keynote + Expo Pass!

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2021 Outlook: Tackling Cloud Transformation Choices
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/4/2021
Enterprise IT Leaders Face Two Paths to AI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/23/2020
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll