Google finally reaches EU antitrust settlement

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by CBR Staff Writer| 06 February 2014

Marking an end to the three-year old EU investigation into search practises.

Google has agreed to make 'significant' changes to its search practises in a bid to calm concerns over misuse of its domination in search to its benefit, ending a three-year EU antitrust investigation and avoiding massive $5bn fine.

The latest deal, which avoids a process leading to a fine of about 10% of its 2012 revenue, requires the search major to comply with the rules for the next five years.

However, Google is still anticipated to be hit with a second EU probe involving its Android operating system for smartphones.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that Google has now accepted to guarantee that whenever it promotes its own specialised search services on its web page, the services of three rivals will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services.

"This principle will apply not only for existing specialised search services, but also to changes in the presentation of those services and for future services," Almunia said.

"After a careful analysis of the last proposals we received from Google last month and intense negotiations that managed to further improve what Google sent us in mid-January, I believe today that Google's proposals are capable of addressing the competition concerns I set out to them."

In addition, Almunia revealed that Google's latest concessions will be accepted without consulting the complainants, which has prompted an angry response from critics.

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