Setback for Google To Settle A Three-Year Antitrust Row With EC

Google antitrust rowThe European Commission has rejected Google’s revised proposals to settle a three-year antitrust row.
“The latest proposals are not acceptable in the sense that they are not proposals that can eliminate our concerns regarding competition,” its competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a Spanish radio interview.

He indicated that he wants to settle the case in 2014, but it is unclear how he would do this without either Google yielding on some parts of the complaint, or by his overriding objections from complainants.

The proposal

Google initially proposed changes to the way it presents some search results in April, but saw those rejected by complainants after Almunia’s office made them public for “market testing”, which seeks to gauge whether suggested remedies are acceptable. In September it sent revised proposals to Almunia’s office – but those too were generally rejected in the market testing phase.

What Google says

Google said in a statement: “We’ve made significant changes to address the EC’s concerns, greatly increasing the visibility of rival services and addressing other specific issues.”

A key element of its most recent proposals would have given some rival shopping sites limited space as part of a larger Google Shopping box when people made what looked like commerce-related searches.

Complainants including Microsoft-funded lobbying group Icomp expressed delight at Almunia’s decision

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