EU executive likely to demand more Google concessions | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 28.05.2013
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Business

EU executive likely to demand more Google concessions

The world's most popular search engine, Google, may need to make further concessions to Brussels in the wake of a probe by the EU executive. Complainants have called for a fairer deal for competitors.

Internet giant Google might need to do a lot more to address EU concerns over the way its search engine presented results, Brussels said on Tuesday.

"We will ask Google...to improve its proposals," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told a hearing of the European Parliament. The EU executive has been probing Google search engine practices since 2010 after competitors, such as Microsoft, complained about the company's dominance in the market segment.

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The Commission said it was concerned that Google was giving its specialized services - such as Google Maps and Google Places - favorable treatment in the way it displayed online search results, hampering competition and user choices.

Hefty fine looming

Google has since submitted proposals, offering to label its own products in Internet search results and make it easier for advertisers to move to rival platforms.

But complainants, including German online mapping company Hotmaps, have criticized Google's proposals, maintaining they wouldn't go far enough. They said the suggestions made would only force others to compete among themselves, raising their costs and increasing merchants' dependency on Google.

Joaquin Almunia said he hoped that a settlement with the US company could be reached soon so that by the end of the year the problem would be off the table.

"Otherwise, the Commission will not hesitate to proceed with a negative decision," he commented, referring to the possibility to make Google pay a fine of up to 10 percent of its global turnover.

hg/kms (Reuters, dpa)

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