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Conclusion of Google EU complaint shifts, expected late 2013

updated 01:07 pm EST, Fri February 22, 2013

Summer break, review time cited as reasons for yet another delay

In the latest chapter of the European Commission's investigation of Google's potentially anti-competitive behavior, Commissioner Joaquin Almunia claims that the matter will be resolved after the summer break, pushing the close of the previously revealed deal until the end of August. The Commission has been examining a proposal submitted by Google to resolve the complaints from more than a dozen companies.

"We can reach an agreement after the summer break. We can envisage this as a possible deadline," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said. The Commission is closed for summer until August 22. Almunia said that there would only be resolution in August if "everything was okay."

Almunia has previously stated that Google needs to commit to changes in how it presents its information to users. In December 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 firm details on Google's proposal are available. People familiar with the matter claim that Google will label its own services in customers' search results to ensure clarity of the source of the result, as well as reducing restrictions on advertisers.

One of the complainants, British price comparison site Foundem, doubted that Google's proposal would change anything. Foundem Chief Executive Shivaun Raff said that he would "withhold judgment on Google's proposals until we have seen them, but everything we have learned about Google makes us sceptical that it would volunteer truly effective remedies until it has been formally charged with infringement."

by MacNN Staff



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