EU antitrust chief: Google's competition concessions aren't enough

Joaquin Almunia believes that Google's proposals fo improving competition in the European Union just aren't enough.

European Union competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia isn't sold on Google's concessions to improve competition in Europe.

Speaking in a Spanish radio interview on Friday, Almunia said that Google's latest offers in October "are not acceptable in the sense that they are not proposals that can eliminate our concerns regarding competition." Reuters earlier reported on the interview.

Google has been embroiled in a three-year EU investigation over its practices in search results. Almunia's office is concerned that the way the company displays search results could harm competition and give Google's own offerings better placement than those from other companies.

Google issued a proposal to Almunia's office earlier this year that included the search giant marking its own products in search results and displays rival sites whenever one of its own products was displayed. Google also said that advertisers would be allowed to easily switch to other platforms.

In October, Almunia reported that Google had improved its commitments , leading some to believe that he might take the deal and let Google out of the legal hot water. It appears now that's not the case.

The stakes are high for Google. If Alumnia's office refuses to take any of the search giant's proposals, it could be fined as much as $5 billion for alleged anticompetitiveness.

"We've made significant changes to address the EC's concerns, greatly increasing the visibility of rival services and addressing other specific issues," a Google spokeswoman told CNET in an e-mailed statement on Friday.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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