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The search company could get stuck with a fine of $5 billion if it can't convince the EU to settle

Google may have gotten out of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) antitrust investigation without much of a penalty earlier this year, but the European Commission isn't giving in so easily

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that Google's proposal for ending the investigation wasn't going to cut it. 

"I concluded that the proposals that Google sent to us are not enough to overcome our concerns," said Almunia. 

The European Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into Google's search behavior in November 2010.

In May 2012, the European Commission said that Google should submit changes in how its search results are wired. Google said it would in February of this year.

In April, Google submitted a settlement proposal that didn't change the algorithm used to create its search results. Rather, the company opted to clearly label any search results from its own services. Not only that, but in some instances, Google will offer links from rival search engines. 

More specifically, services where Google doesn't make money from search results (like weather and news) would have been labeled as Google services. For places where Google sells ads, links to at least three competitors would've been displayed. For services like Google Shopping, links to rivals would be auctioned.

In addition, the proposal aimed to give websites the option to keep their content from vertical search properties, but stay in general search results. Furthermore, Google wanted to help small businesses move their ad campaigns to other search engines.

While the European Commission initially accepted this proposal, Google rivals like Microsoft weren't happy with the proposal. Microsoft said that Google is a determining factor as to what Europeans search, read and purchase online (about 86 percent of Europeans use Google for search) and that its practices are only benefitting itself; not consumers and fair competitors. 

It was announced in late April that Google competitors had one month to comment on the EU invesitgation, and it looks like Google's rivals voiced their opinions against Google's proposal. 

It's not clear when Google has to respond to the EU's latest decision, but the search company could get stuck with a fine of $5 billion if it can't convince the EU to settle. 

In January of this year, Google managed to escape a two-year FTC investigation with no fines. The investigation looked into Google's possible abuse of search dominance as well by using results to its own advantage.

Source: Reuters

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RE: I'm confused
By Rukkian on 7/18/2013 10:39:45 AM , Rating: 2
I could understand that more if their intial ruling had the fine, but they accepted the settlement until Microsoft "persuaded" them it was not enough. I know little about the EU, I will admit it, and maybe they have absolutely no corruption, and have the perfect society.

From what I have read on this topic, I do not understand the issue, especially if Google is willing to fix it.

RE: I'm confused
By Reclaimer77 on 7/18/2013 1:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
The EU doesn't really want the so-called issues fixed. They just want the money.

They pulled the same stunt with Microsoft remember? So Microsoft added a browser ballot process in Windows. But the EU pulled the "oh that's not good enough" BS, they just wanted the big fine.

RE: I'm confused
By BZDTemp on 7/19/2013 7:57:55 AM , Rating: 2
I'm gonna say it plainly so you can understand. You're an IDIOT.

The EU isn't a person or a small club where such a fine would matter in the budget. The EU is a ½ billion people so the fines given to Microsoft means nothing what matters is that free and fair competition is ensured. This is no different than US vs. Microsoft back in the day.

RE: I'm confused
By A11 on 7/21/2013 11:04:54 AM , Rating: 2
You can save yourself the effort of explaning what's really going on to Americans.

All they want to see is how the evil EU is stealing money from innocent American companies while ignoring the fact that it's pretty much always complaints about business practices made by other American companies which starts the investigations.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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