EU demands more concessions from Google to settle case
Google antitrust proposals ‘not enough’ to overcome European Commission concerns
European competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he has asked Google to present better proposals in relation to concerns that it is blocking competitors in web search results. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir
Google must do more to allay concerns that it is blocking competitors in web search results, the EU’s anti-trust chief said yesterday after rivals criticised concessions Google has offered as being inadequate.
The world’s most popular search engine submitted proposed concessions to the European Commission in April to end a three-year investigation and responded yesterday that its proposal “clearly addresses” areas of concern.
Google, which has a market share of over 80 per cent in Europe’s internet search market according to research firm comScore, could face a fine of as much as $5 billion if it does not resolve the issue.
“I concluded that the proposals that Google sent to us are not enough to overcome our concerns,” European competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia told a news conference, adding that he has asked Google to present better proposals.
Mr Almunia did not say whether he had set a deadline for the company to reply.
Google spokesman Al Verney said the company would continue to work with the EU competition authority.
The company has offered to mark out its own products in internet search results, provide links to at least three rival sites and make it easier for advertisers to move to rival platforms.
The EU competition regulator has sought feedback from Google’s rivals and third parties, and a number of them have said any concessions would only reinforce Google’s dominance.
Reacting to Mr Almunia’s comments, lobbying group ICOMP called on the commission to penalise Google if it does not come up with a better offer.
Another lobbying group FairSearch, whose members include complainants Microsoft, online travel agency Expedia, British price comparison site Foundem and France’s Twenga, said Google’s offer was “highly unlikely” to boost competition. – Reuters