Google hands settlement proposal to EU on antitrust -- report

The European Union's ongoing inquiry into Google's alleged anticompetitive behavior may be wrapping up, as the Web giant is said to be making a deal with the Union's antitrust commission.

Google was expected to submit a settlement proposal for the European Commission's antitrust inquiry by the end of January. And, it looks like the Web giant just made the deadline.

According to AllThingsD, sources familiar with the matter said Google turned in a detailed proposal earlier today. However neither Google nor the EC are confirming whether a settlement proposal was definitively submitted.

When asked about the settlement offer, a Google representative told CNET, "We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission." The EC's press office has not yet responded to CNET's request for comment.

The EU's antitrust probe was opened in 2010 when European regulators asked the company to explain how it ranked search results and advertising after complaints of anticompetitive behavior from European businesses. Throughout the course of the inquiry, Google has been trying to settle . Google faces a fine of up to 10 percent of its global revenue, or about $4 billion, if the commission finds it has violated European antitrust laws.

This case mirrors a similar probe in the U.S. that was brought by the Federal Trade Commission and settled earlier this month . Under the FTC's settlement, a handful of companies may now choose to stop showing their results inside Google products like Google+ Local, Google Shopping, and Hotels. The search giant also agreed to voluntarily change the way it uses other Web sites' data.

Despite the EC and Google not being forthcoming about whether a settlement proposal was submitted today, inside sources did tell AllThingsD that the purported agreement looks very similar to the FTC's settlement. The main differences are that supposedly the EC agreement addresses better product labeling in search results but does not discuss patents.

Throughout both the U.S. and European Union probes, Google has denied any wrongdoing. In its agreement with the FTC, the company maintained its stance that it has done nothing wrong. According to AllThingsD, the EC settlement proposal will likely contain similar language.

Even if Google did submit a proposal today, it's still unclear whether the EC will accept it .

About the author

Dara Kerr, a freelance journalist based in the Bay Area, is fascinated by robots, supercomputers and Internet memes. When not writing about technology and modernity, she likes to travel to far-off countries.

 

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