EU Pleased With Google's Search Changes, May Settle Without Fines
February 5, 2014 10:59 AM
Competitors will weigh in on the matter first
It looks like Google is on the path to
in yet another search dominance investigation as the European Commission accepts changes recently submitted by the American tech company.
According to the
, Google has agreed to promote the services of three competitors in Google Search results alongside its own services. The rival companies will have their results promoted in a similar way as the Google products being displayed on the page, giving no unfair advantages to anyone in particular.
Google also addressed other EU concerns, such as giving content providers an extensive opt-out from the use of their content in Google's search services without penalties; removing exclusivity requirements in its agreements with publishers for the provision of search advertisements; and removing restrictions for search advertising campaigns to be run on competing search advertising platforms.
"Turning this proposal into a legally binding obligation for Google would ensure that competitive conditions are both restored quickly and maintained over the next years," said Joaquín Almunia, head of the EU antitrust unit.
The EU is pleased with Google's latest changes, but the search giant's competitors will get a say before the submissions are turned into a legally binding obligation.
This settlement means Google will have escaped as much as a $5 billion fine, or 10 percent of its 2012 revenue. It would also end a nearly four-year antitrust investigation by the EU as to whether Google arranges search results in a way that benefits itself instead of consumers and competitors.
This probably sounds similar to the two-year investigation the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched against Google regarding its dominance on the Web. Instead of paying fines, the FTC made Google promise that it would stop scraping reviews and information from other websites, stop requesting sales bans when suing companies for patent infringement and allow advertisers to export data in order to evaluate advertising campaigns.
to not fine Google
after such a long investigation surprised many rival companies, but FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said it was in the best interest of all involved.
swore not to go easy on Google
the way the FTC did, and while the EU investigation has been lengthier than the FTCs, it looks like Google is still dodging fines.
A final settlement is expected in the coming weeks for the EU case.
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
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