EU and Google agree outlined antitrust deal

GOOGLE has agreed on the basis of an antitrust settlement with the EU, it emerged last night.

The EU’s competition commissioner Joaquín Almunia has accepted proposals from the internet giant on changes to the way it ranks its search results. Although the deal has not been finalised, developments have opened the door for Google to settle the investigation.

Antoine Colombani, the commission’s spokesman, told City A.M. last night that negotiations have been positive.

“We have reached a good level of understanding, it’s a good basis for further discussions at a technical level,” Colombani said, adding that this was only a preliminary agreement.

The EU has been investigating claims from several firms that Google favours its own services in search results. The tech company’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt outlined settlement proposals to the EU earlier this month.

In May, Google was told of four areas of concern where its practices were considered a potential abuse of its position. It currently has a 90 per cent market share in Europe.

A Google spokesman said: “We continue to work co-operatively with the commission.”