Can Google Appease EU Regulators In Competition Probe?
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) continues to offer proposals to help put an end to its three-year investigation, but EU competition regulators aren’t satisfied just yet. The world’s most popular search engine is still under fire, after over a dozen competitors prompted the EU Competition Commission to open an investigation on accusations that the company was squeezing out its rivals. Google put forward a proposal last month in order to appease its critics; however, a report by Reuters on Tuesday elucidates that regulators will most likely press the company for more.
After a multitude of the company’s rivals, including Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), accused it of oppressing its competitors, Google offered last month to “label its own products in internet search results and make it easier for advertisers to move to rival platforms.”
But many found this insufficient. Acknowledging complaints from critics, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said the company would likely be pressed for more concessions. Those who voiced complaints include British price comparison site Foundem, and German online mapping company, Hotmaps, which argue that Google’s proposals would increase competition among themselves, raising their costs and increasing merchant dependency on Google. Many others agree that the current package is insufficient, and doubt that new concessions could rectify it.
Complainants now have until June 27 to file comments, a deadline extended from May 26. According to Reuters, Almunia told lawmakers during a Tuesday hearing at the European Parliament, “After, we will analyse the responses we have received…almost 100 percent we will ask Google: you should improve your proposals.”
Google is confident it can work with the Commission to meet a settlement that would mean no infringement finding nor a fine. However, Google’s Android operating system could possibly be the new specimen put under the microscope, as the Commission has also received a formal complaint about the Android ecosystem.
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