The European Commission has told Google that it must make
more concessions in the pursuit of resolving a four-year antitrust probe into
its alleged abuse of the internet search market.
Four areas of the search engine giant’s business operations
have come under scrutiny after competitors, such as Microsoft and Expedia have
made claims that its domination of the online search market blocks advertisers
from moving to competing platforms.
Google’s links to its own services (such as Google Maps and
YouTube), restrictions on rival advertising, the difficulty it creates in
transferring adverts to other platforms, and the copying of content from rivals
have aroused serious concerns in the EC.
Thus far, Google has already improved its offer three times
in response to the complaints, but so far talks are still failing.
If talks continue to fail, Google could face a fine
equivalent to 10% of its annual revenues, which currently stand in excess of
The allegations focus around Google’s alleged discrimination
against rivals in search results. Talking to Bloomberg on September 6th,
Joaquin Almunia, the European Union’s competition commissioner, said that some
of the feed back received was "very, very negative”.
"Some complainants have introduced new arguments, new data,
new considerations. So we now need to analyse this and see if we can find
solutions, Google can find solutions, to some of these concerns that we find
justified,” said Joaquin
Alumnia has been seeking voluntary concessions from Google
for more than two years in the attempt to avoid such an investigation as this
which could lead to fines. Any changes made to the current deal presented by
Google would mark a decided U-turn on the part of Alumnia, who has thus far
defended the planned settlement despite facing criticism from fellow EU
Additional complaints have been filed against Google in
recent months from the likes of French and German publishers, as well as
Deutsche Telekom AG.
Al Verney, a spokesman for Google, has said: "We continue to
work with the [European Commission] to resolve the concerns they have raised.”