Google offers new concessions to avoid EU antitrust penalty

City A.M. Reporter
GOOGLE has offered further concessions aimed at ending a three-year investigation into complaints it was blocking competitors and to avert a possible $5bn fine, the EC said yesterday.

The new proposal comes two months after the Commission, which is the EU’s antitrust regulator, asked the world’s most popular search engine for more measures to sooth concerns that it was blocking competitors, including Microsoft, in web search results.

“The Commission received a proposal from Google and is assessing it,” EU spokesman Jonathan Todd said. He did not provide details nor say if rivals would be given a chance to assess the concessions.

“Our proposal to the European Commission addresses their four areas of concern. We continue to work with the Commission to settle this case,” a Google spokesman said.

Lobbying group FairSearch, whose members include Microsoft and other complainants such as travel agency Expedia and price comparison site Foundem, urged the Commission to seek feedback from rivals.

“Given the failure of Google to make a serious offer last time around, we believe it is necessary that customers and competitors of Google be consulted in a full, second market test,” a FairSearch lawyer said.