Google and EU reach deal on antitrust case

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In its third attempt to avoid a $5 billion fine, Google has committed to address competition concerns raised by the European Commission on how rivals appear in search results.

The biggest search engine in the world has been the focus of a Commission investigation since 2010, when complainants from competitors across Europe accused the company of promoting its own services at their expense.

‘I believe today that Google’s proposals are capable of addressing the competitions concerns I set out to them. Therefore from now on we will move forward to a decision made on commitments’, EU Competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a news conference on Wednesday.

Under the new proposal, Google will allow rivals to display their services in a more prominent way.

The giant company, which has a 75% share of the European search market, will also scrap restrictions that prevent advertisers from moving their campaigns to rival platforms, such as Yahoo’s search tool or Microsoft’s Bing.

‘Google has finally accepted to guarantee that whenever it promotes its own specialised search services on its page, the services of rivals will also be displayed in a comparable way. In practise, this means that when Google promotes one of its specialised search services, there will be also three rival services also displayed prominently on the page in a way that is clearly visible to users.’ Almunia added.

Almunia also stressed that the deal will not stop the Commission from investigating other business practices by Google.

The EU executive is also currently looking into allegations related to Google’s Android operating systems.

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