Google antitrust probe nears resolution

Google and the European Commission appear close to resolving the three-year antitrust investigation into the search giant’s dominance of the online advertising market here, with EU competition chief Joaquin Almunia suggesting a settlement may not be far off.

Google
 

Almunia today (1 October) said the antitrust investigation had reached a “key moment” after Google submitted revised concessions to how it displays its search and advertising results, indicating that Google may avoid formal censure.

The European Competition Commission may conclude the antitrust investigation without formal action by Spring next year provided Google can offer “empirical data” that satisfies complainants, and other interested parties, that Google’s updated proposals meet with EU requirements.

Almunia said: “Although I cannot describe the details, I can tell you that the new proposal more appropriately addresses the need for any commitments to be able to cover future developments.”

The investigation concerns charges, led primarily by Microsoft, that Google unfairly protects its dominance of the online advertising market by promoting its own services in its search results ahead of its rivals’. The charges also allege that Google unfairly restricted advertisers to porting their online ad campaigns to competing platforms in its terms and conditions.

This kicked off an antitrust investigation in November 2010, and up until July 2013, Almunia had expressed dissatisfaction with Google’s proposed amendments to its businesses practices, but its subsequent proposals appear to have with his approval.

Kent Walker, Google senior vice president and general counsel, says: “This has been a very long and very thorough investigation.  Given the feedback the European Commission received on our first proposal, they have insisted on further, significant changes to the way we display search results.

“While competition online is thriving, we’ve made the difficult decision to agree to their requirements in the interests of reaching a settlement.”

Elsewhere, it has also emerged that Google paid £12m in corporation tax in 2012 in the UK, despite revenues of £506m, according to documents filed with Companies House, further fuelling criticism over its tax practices here.

Latest from Marketing Week

Influencers, consultancies and the recruitment crisis: The key topics of conversation at Cannes Lions

cannes lions

Cannes Lions 2018: Marketers turned out in force to advertising’s biggest annual event. But away from the usual talk of purpose and creativity, some big issues such as the recruitment crisis, how advertising responds to the #MeToo movement and cleaning up the influencer marketing space were discussed.

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here