Is Google Out of TROUBLE?
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is closer to getting rid of its regulatory worries after the European Commission said it had reached a “level of good understanding” with the company on its new proposals. Google reportedly revised its initial proposals to now cover computers, tablets, as well as mobile devices in order to comply with the EU watchdog’s demand, according to Reuters.
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If the EU accepts the proposals, Google will be able to settle the investigation into alleged anti-competitive behavior and avert a possibly large fine. That will help it avoid the fate of Microsoft in the last decade, which had to undertake a lengthy legal battle that ended in more than a billion euros in fines. Companies can be fined up to 10 percent of their turnover for breaching EU rules. In Google’s case, that could be up to $4 billion based on last year’s results.
“I can confirm we have reached a good level of understanding with Google based on its proposals,” EU competition policy spokesman Antoine Colombani said. “There will soon be discussions at technical level. We hope this process will lead to remedies addressing our concerns.”
Google’s new proposals reportedly cover the four areas of concerns cited by EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in May. The Commission was worried that Google’s search engine unfairly favors other Google services over those of rivals, that it may have copied material from other websites without permission, that its advertising deals may exclude third parties from making similar deals with rivals, and contractual restrictions on software developers may prevent advertisers from transferring their online campaigns to rival search engines.
The investigation started after complaints from more than a dozen rivals and other companies, including Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), and TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP). The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also investigating Google on similar claims.
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