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EU tells Google to improve its proposal regarding search practices or face charges

The European Commission’s antitrust commissioner said that ‘fresh evidence’ from competitors has raised new concerns over Google’s search proposal.

The European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia.
The European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia.
Image: AP Photo/Yves Logghe

GOOGLE HAVE BEEN told to come up with a better proposal to help put concerns over its search engine practices to rest and end a four-year antitrust investigation.

In a speech given today, the European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia, said that “fresh evidence and solid arguments” from competitors means Google now has to come up with an improved proposal.

Google was informed about the EU’s concerns earlier this month and regulators are currently awaiting its response to these issues.

As part of our standard practice in an Article 9 procedure – which leads to a commitments decision – and in response to our pre-rejection letters sent before the summer, some of the twenty formal complainants have given us fresh evidence and solid arguments against several aspects of the latest proposals put forward by Google.

If Google’s response isn’t up to scratch, the EU will prepare the Statement of Objections, a formal step in its investigations into suspected violations of EU rules on restrictive business practices.

After a hearing, if the commission believes that there is enough evidence of an infringement, it can impose a fine of up to 10% of a company’s annual worldwide turnover.

Back in February, Google reached a provisional agreement with the EU where it would display search results from three of its competitors alongside its own search results and mark them in a way that was clear for users to see.

However, the agreement was criticised by a number of EU officials and rivals like Microsoft causing Almunia to examine their responses.

Read: Forgetting about links you favourited on Twitter? This could help you out >

Read: Google stops forcing new Gmail users to sign up to Google+ >

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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