Google offers to settle with investigators looking into claims it unfairly stifles opponents
The internet search giant Google faces having to make changes to the way it runs some of the most lucrative parts of its multi-billion pound business after it made an offer to settle with European Commission investigators looking into claims it uses its muscle to stifle opponents unfairly.
The firm is seeking to avoid a formal probe into allegations its search engine favours its own products over those of its competitors. But its offer of a settlement could open the door for investigators looking into similar complaints in some of the world's biggest markets - including the United States, India and South Korea - to demand the same concessions.
Google confirmed it made an offer, sent to the European Commission (EC) by its executive chairman Eric Schmidt. If the EC accepts the deal, the antitrust probe will be dropped.
While Google will have to satisfy the EC that it will not hold an unfair advantage over competitors in order to have the case dropped, doing so would see the firm would avoid a fine of up to 10 per cent of its global earnings, which totalled £24.1b illion last year. It will also fend off any moves to impose more stringent restrictions on its European operation.
The firm has agreed to make concessions on how it runs it search, advertising operations. European competition commissioner, Joaquin Almunia wanted to look at claims that Google promotes its own products, such as YouTube and Google Maps ahead of similar services offered by its competitors in search results.
He also wanted to investigate allegations the firm copies competitors? material such as restaurant guides in its search results, as well as two separate concerns over how it runs its advertising business. Google, which reportedly has around 95 per cent of European online search traffic, was told to respond in May or face a formal investigation.
A Google spokesman refused to reveal the details of the firm's offer but confirmed the deal included settlements on all "four areas the European Commission described as potential concerns". The spokesman said: "We continue to work cooperatively with the Commission."
Wellcome Image Awards: The most striking images from the world of science, including breast cancer cells under chemical attack and a photographer’s own kidney stone
Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Terrorism explanation 'cannot be ruled out', says CIA
Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
Oscar Pistorius murder trial: Athlete repeatedly sick as court hears 'graphic details' of Reeva Steenkamp's post-mortem
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home
- 1 Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
- 2 Family forced to flee home after discovering 'terrifying' nest of spiders in bananas
- 3 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 Bob Crow death: 'Admired by his members, feared by employers' - Tributes pour in for RMT union leader and 'working class hero' Bob Crow
iJobs Money & Business
£1000 per month: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ban...
£35000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: You must ...
£60000 - £80000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A top, City ba...
VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED : Reach Volunteering: Fantastic opportuni...