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EU Antitrust chief: Google diverts traffic, must change

updated 09:50 pm EST, Fri January 11, 2013

Almunia critical of FTC settlement, restates previous position

According to the European Union's antitrust chairman Joaquin Almunia, Google should face antitrust charges for "diverting traffic," and should be required to change the way that it returns search results to users. Almunia suggested that Google make it apparent to users that the service is using its own services to tailor search results, and does not give equal billing in search results to competitors.

Almunia said in the interview that the commission is "still investigating, but my conviction is that [Google] is diverting traffic." He added that he believed that "they are monetizing this kind of business, the strong position they have in the general search market and this is not only a dominant position, I think -- I fear -- there is an abuse of this dominant position."

Almunia has previously stated that Google needs to commit to changes in how it presents its information to users. Last month he said that Google and the EU had "substantially reduced our differences" in the antitrust investigation.

Google has claimed to continue to work "cooperatively" with the European investigative commission. Google is staring down a fine of up to 10 percent of its global income if found to be in violation of EU antitrust laws, estimated to be as high as $3.79 billion. No announcement has been made as to the estimated completion date of the investigation.

by MacNN Staff



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