Google's Proposals for Search Antitrust Settlement Shot Down by European Commission
December 20, 2013 8:52 PM
Google CEO Eric Schmidt
If the EC doesn't see any worthwhile changes at Google, the search company could be fined an amount that equates up to 10 percent of its annual sales
The European Commission (EC) isn't pleased with Google's latest efforts to
resolve antitrust complaints
regarding abuse of its dominant position in the search market.
, the EC -- which is the executive body of the European Union -- said Google failed to properly meet concerns regarding a search-related antitrust investigation that has been ongoing since 2010.
The EC and Google's competitors have said that the search giant "distorts" user choice by abusing its dominant position in the search market. More specifically, Google arranges search results in a way that benefits itself and not competitors.
"The latest proposals are not acceptable in the sense that they are not proposals that can eliminate our concerns regarding competition," said EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.
Google submitted the proposals back in September, which addressed EC concerns over the way search results are presented as well as Google's "scraping" (or gathering results) from its competitors’ services using automated scripts to improve the quality of its own results.
But it looks like these proposals could use some work. The EC says it has four main concerns: Google gives unfair preference in search results to its own services, tries to prevent clients from using other advertising platforms, duplicates content without permission, and ties up publishers with exclusivity deals.
"We have made significant changes to address the (EU's) concerns, greatly increasing the visibility of rival services and addressing other specific issues," said Google in a statement.
If the EC doesn't see any worthwhile proposals or changes at Google, the search company could be fined an amount that equates up to 10 percent of its annual sales.
Google was recently slapped with a 900,000 euro ($1.23 million USD)
fine from the Spanish Agency for Data Protection
, which is a privacy watchdog in Spain. Google was fined due to breaking the country's data protection law by mixing customers' personal information from its many different online services and failing to inform users clearly on how their data is used.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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