This isn't a stand: Concessions could get Google off EU hook
11th Apr 2013 | 20:59
A repeat of a US result?
It's always a good idea to put out one fire before fighting another, and Google seems prepared to begin doing just that.
The search giant has formally sent concession proposals to European Union competition regulators in an effort to bring a two-year antitrust investigation to an end sans fine.
Though no details of what Google presented were revealed, Reuters reported these were crafted after Google had some mano-a-mano time with the EU to hear its concerns. The commission plans to send the proposals out for a test to get feedback from market members, including complainants.
Whether the proposals are accepted or not, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Google will be legally bound to comply to whatever agreement is ultimately reached.
It's getting hot in here
Tech and legal troubles go hand in hand these days, and the company currently in the hot(test) seat looks to be Google.
Almunia acknowledged a recently filed complaint targeted at Android by a group that includes Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle, but said that the EU has yet to make a decision on whether it will launch a formal investigation into what complainants called a "Trojan horse" OS.
All the drama is set against the backdrop of yet another EU investigation, one that's looking into Google's privacy policies.
In the antitrust investigation, the commission has looked at whether Google's practices of pushing its own services over competitors, copying rivals' restaurant and travel reviews without permission and hindering advertiser efforts to move to competing services violated antitrust rules.
Google faced similar accusations in a U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigation, however it dodged a big bullet when the FTC found it didn't bias its search results to favor its own businesses, though it did face concessions.
Though Almunia said the FTC's decision holds no sway over the EU's investigation, Google may escape this case relatively unscathed if its proposals are found satisfactory.
If the EU and market testers like what they see, Google could walk away without paying a fine that has the potential to reach up to $5 billion (UK£3.24 billion, AU$4.73 billion). Score.