Google ordered to make ‘better proposals’ by EU competition chief

Europe’s competition chief has has warned Google it must improve its proposed concessions to how it displays its search and advertising results to address antitrust concerns if it is to escape formal censure.


Joaquin Almunia, EU competition commissioner, yesterday (17 July) stated Google must “present better proposals”, to address concerns that it unfairly promotes its own services compared to rivals in its search results, as well as its terms of service for advertisers.

Almunia said: “I concluded the proposals that Google sent to us months ago are not enough to overcome our concerns.”

He also added that he has written to Google chairman Eric Schmidt requesting “better proposals”.

Google, which commands an almost 90 per cent share of the European search market according to ComScore,  potentially faces formal sanction over how it displays its search and advertising results with critics claiming it unfairly prioritises its own services over rivals’.

The online services giant has submitted a proposed solution to address these concerns in April, including more clearly labelling its own products in its search results and imposing fewer restrictions on advertisers that choose to do business with competing service providers.

If Google’s concessions are accepted by the Commission, it will avoid a fine of up to $5bn (£3.2bn) plus the scrutiny of a third party to ensure it complies with any alternative practices prescribed by competition authorities.

However, Google’s detractors – most notably Microsoft and Windows Phone manufacturer Nokia – have also slammed them as inadequate and harmful to competition, claiming they fall short of the Commission’s requirements.

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