Google submits a proposal to end EC antitrust inquiry

February 2, 2013
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It looks like an end to Google’s long running EU court saga could be right around the corner. According to AllThingsD, the technology giant submitted a proposal, before the end of January deadline, which should settle the investigation.

The EU’s antitrust probe began in 2010 after complaints of anti-competitive behavior arose from European businesses, which prompted the European Commission to investigate into how Google was ranking its search results and advertising. Google was facing a fine of up to 10 percent of its total revenue, which would have cost the company around $4 billion, but a settlement could see Google escape the steepest penalties.

Google has always denied any wrongdoing in both of their cases concerning anti-competitive business practices, but government regulators are notoriously hard to please.

Although neither Google nor the EC has made a commented on the submitted proposal, inside sources have indicated that the settlement looks very similar to the agreement Google made with the FTC not to long ago.

Under the FTC’s ruling, websites will be granted the opportunity to opt out of search results and be able to remove content from specialized search pages. The FTC also granted advertisers more control over the availability of ad related information, allowing them to more easily acquire and export relevant data from Google using third party software.

However, just because Google has submitted a proposal to settle the dispute doesn’t mean that the EC will accept. If Google failed to make sufficient concessions to address the EC’s concerns then the battle could be draw out even longer, and Google could even face steeper punishments than those handed out by the FTC.

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