Google Submits Concessions to EC; Gets Sued in the UK
Google could emerge from the two-year antitrust investigation of its search practices without paying a fine
Apr. 15, 2013 07:00 AM
Google has finally submitted a formal concession offer to the European Commission, which is now going to test-market them with complainants and competitors such as Microsoft.
Google could emerge from the two-year antitrust investigation of its search practices without paying a fine.
Reuters says Google has offered to label its own services in search results to differentiate them from rival services and to impose fewer restrictions on advertisers.
EC Antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia says he wants "legally binding commitments" from Google.
Google, meanwhile, has been sued in London's High Court of Justice, Chancery Division by a UK company called Streetmap for "cynical manipulation of [its] search results" to favor Google Maps and make it hard to find its rivals, exactly the kind of charges the EC has been investigating.
Bloomberg says Foundem, the UK shopping comparison web site whose complaint to EC sparked the EC investigation, sued Google for revenue lost to "Google's anti-competitive conduct" last June.
Streetmap is expecting its action to push other companies to complain.
An American investigation ended in January with the government finding consumers were unharmed. Google, however, has an estimated 95% of the search traffic in Europe.
A site moved from first position to tenth typically loses 85% of its traffic, a Microsoft consultant found. And the smaller screens on phones mean there's less room for competing services.
Google also has privacy issues.