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Google Submits Concessions to EU Antitrust Body
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Google is having a harder time fighting antitrust laws in Europe than it did with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in January. It has offered greater concessions than it did in the U.S., but its rivals keep demanding more. Those rivals will get a chance to be heard. They may comment on the proposed concessions Google is offering, and this will affect whether EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Alumnia will let Google’s proposals fly. Google could be facing a large fine otherwise, and has to answer about four areas of concern in its business practice.

The list of companies with complaints against the U.S. internet company search engine supergiant include Microsoft, of course, and also TripAdvisor and Expedia, various newspaper publishers and mapping sites and price comparison sites.

  
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Four concessions Google is prepared to make include making distinctions in its search results between Google’s products and rival products, including at least three competing search engines; allowing websites to bar their content from Google’s specialized searches; allowing publishers to control the display of their content on Google News, no longer needing to exclusively use Google adverts; and to remove restrictions that prevent advertisers from transferring their search advertising campaigns on rival platforms.

“It is clear that mere labeling is not any kind of solution to the competition concerns that have been identified,” said ICOMP, a lobby group that includes Microsoft, as reported by Reuters. “Google should implement the same ranking policy to all websites.”

“The early signs are that Google’s proposals will fall far short of this minimum requirement (to treat both its rival services equally),” said British price comparison site Foundem’s Chief Executive Shivuan Raff. “Instead of promising to end its abusive practices, Google’s proposal seems to offer a half-hearted attempt to dilute their anti-competitive effects, by labeling Google’s own services and throwing in some token links to competitor’s services alongside them.”

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