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Google agreement ends Italian antitrust case

Italy drops its case after Google makes commitments regarding ad revenue transparency and news in search results. Company still faces other major antitrust challenges, though.


Italy has closed its antitrust investigation into Google after the company modified news and advertising provisions there.

The issue arose in 2009 when Italian news sites raised concerns that requesting their sites be removed from Google News would mean they'd also be removed from Google's main search results. The complaint led to a broader inquiry of the search giant.

Google committed to leaving the main search results unchanged by a news organization's involvement in Google News, according to The Associated Press, and also to sharing more information about AdSense, a program in which Google supplies ads for use on others' sites and shares the resulting revenue.

"We have worked cooperatively with the Italian competition authority and our publishing partners to address their questions and concerns," Google said in a statement to The New York Times. "While we comply with Italian and E.U. competition laws, we also understand that there is always room for improvement in our business."

The move relieves one concern that the company's search power has threatened competition in other areas, but it doesn't dispel the likelihood that Google will have a major antitrust showdown in its future. The European Commission and Texas are looking for potential antitrust violations involving Google's core search business, and the U.S. Justice Department is evaluating Google's attempted acquisition of ITA, which makes software used by the airline industry.