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Google’s EC Competition Investigation
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has attempted to curb European antitrust concerns by submitting a proposal to Joaquin Almunia the Vice President of the European Commission and Commissioner responsible for competition policy.
The European Commission received a series of complaints in 2010 by English and French companies and subsequently by Microsoft who owns search engine Bing. Google was accused of illegal anti-competitive behaviour and abusing its market position. Google is said to have roughly 90% of search business in Europe.
The European Commission started its investigation into how Google was running its search business in November 2010.The four areas being investigated by the European Commission include how Google favours its own services in its search results, how it displays content from other websites, how it manages ads appearing next to search results and how its actions affect marketers’ ability to buy ads on rival networks.
A Google spokesman has said that a proposal was made to address the four areas of concern they declined however to provide any detail on the proposals themselves.
If a settlement is not reached and the European Commission decides to pursue a case against Google, it could end up being fined up to 10% of its annual revenue which based on last year’s revenue could be as much as £2.4 billion.
The European Commission is expected to make the proposal from Google public at some point stage. It will be interesting to see how far Google’s proposals go and whether they go far enough to achieving the level playing field envisaged by so many.
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