Google Celebrates the End of Its EU Antitrust Stalemate

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) dodged the EU bullet. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the European Union’s three-year antitrust probe into the world’s largest search engine concluded this week after the agency accepted Google’s offer of doing a better job of displaying results from rival search services. Google competitors have long complained about the tech company’s monopoly over the Internet and its alleged promotion of its specialist search services; however, the EU officially dropped its search this week, freeing Google of any fines and findings, after the Mountain View, California-based company pledged to add new services or modify its search page so that it grants three links to rival services next to its own specialized search results.

Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia explained his decision via Bloomberg, “No antitrust authority in the world has obtained such concessions. The concessions we have extracted from Google in this case are far-reaching and have a clear potential to restore a level playing-field in the important markets of online search and advertising.”

As a result of Google’s five-year pledge to open up its services to promote the links of rivals, competitors can now bid for a spot in a shaded box on some of Google’s search pages. Google previously offered a similar modification on its site, but the EU turned down the offer when the agency didn’t like that competitors’ links could be switched off by users. Now, consumers won’t be granted that option, and rivals’ links will be shown in mobile and any future versions of Google search that uses the specialized search function.

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