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Google to submit antitrust probe settlement offer in January

The search giant is going to send the European Union's antitrust commission an offer next month.

Google is getting ready to make its settlement offer to the European Union's antitrust commission, the commission's head said in a statement released today.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said he met with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt today and expects a "detailed commitment" in January, according to an e-mailed statement from Alumnia's office.

"Since our preliminary talks with Google started in July, we have substantially reduced our differences regarding possible ways to address each of the four competition concerns expressed by the commission," he said in the statement.

When reached for comment, a Google representative said, "We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission."

The search giant, which was put under the European antitrust microscope in 2010 after rivals launched allegations of anticompetitive behavior, has beentrying to settle the ongoing EU probe. 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.

The commission's four concerns, as stated by Alumnia, relate to the way Google incorporates its other services into general search results compared with competing services; Google's use and display of third-party content on its other services; the exclusive nature of agreements to deliver Google ads on other sites; and restrictions to the portability of AdWords advertising campaigns.

After Google submits its proposal, it "will be market-tested," before the commission decides on the offer.