Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Google Settles EU Antitrust Case

A settlement with European antitrust authorities on a competition case regarding Google’s alleged abuse of search and advertising practices has been announced. Google can now avoid hefty fines as well as any finding of wrongdoing. Google, which has some ninety percent of the European market, was accused of favoring its own products and services in search results. Reportedly, the deal is a culmination of four years of negotiations between Google and the European Union (EU). The settlement remains tentative, as comment from Google’s rivals is sought before making the antitrust decision legally binding later this year. Per the settlement, Google will give greater prominence to competitors for the next five years, including displaying results from three competitors every time Google shows its own results for searches related to products, restaurants and hotels. The settlement also makes it easier for advertisers to move their business to Yahoo or Microsoft. The EU agreement goes further than last year's agreement with the US Federal Trade Commission, which forced only minor concessions. European competitors are now considering whether to appeal to the European Court of Justice on the antitrust agreement. Significantly, the settlement does not require the company to change the algorithm that producing search results, nor does it include expanded web services like cloud data, mapping, email, and e-commerce, that apparently gave the company the dominant position in European internet use. See full story here--