Google Proposal Doesn’t Yield Results for European Commission

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Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) October offer to the European Commission to settle an antitrust case that began in 2010 did not win support from the Commission, which after reviewing the matter, finds the proposed terms unsuitable. Google could be fined as much as $5 billion for blocking competitors links in search results.

European Union competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia explained the Commission’s views in a Spanish radio interview Friday. ”The latest offer as submitted by Google in October, the latest proposals are not acceptable in the sense that they are not proposals that can eliminate our concerns regarding competition,” Almunia said. The Economic Times carried a partial transcript of the interview. The interviewer asked Almunia if the Commission had immediate plans for sanctions against the search giant. ”No, no, no. At this moment, there is little time left, but the ball is still in Google’s court,” Almunia said. However, the ball would soon return to the Commission, ”and then it will be the moment to take decisions.”

The Google probe began in 2010, based on allegations that Google was abusing its position as the dominant online search engine. “The opening of formal proceedings follows complaints by search service providers about unfavourable treatment of their services in Google’s unpaid and sponsored search results coupled with an alleged preferential placement of Google’s own services,” the Commission said in November 2010.

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