European Commission Tells Google To Improve Its Antitrust Proposals

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The European Commission has told Google its suggested antitrust proposals are simply not good enough.

The search engine giant is accused of using its huge market share of 90% of the European Internet search market to promote its own services such as Google Maps and Google Shopping above those of its rivals.

Google initially offered a set of proposed changes to address the various concerns raised to the EC back in January. These changes included compromises such as labelling its own products like Google Shopping and YouTube on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and also stopping scraping content from other rival sites, but the European Commission does not believe these are enough.

European Commission antitrust commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, said : "After the analysis of the results of the market test that concluded last month [June 27] I concluded that proposals that Google sent to us months ago are not enough to overcome our concerns."

He also said he had contacted Google chairman Eric Schmidt "asking Google to present better proposals."

The EC first started its investigation into Google in November 2010. The British vertical search firm, Foundem, pointing out results for Google-owned properties, such as YouTube, Google Maps and the like, consistently scored higher than its own offerings.

The EC still has the power to hit Google with a ten per cent fine on its global earnings - a fine rumoured to be almost £3.3bn - if it finds the Internet giant guilty of antitrust offences, however in a similar investigation in the US, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided not to take further action against Google.

If the EC does manage to push through the changes, Europe will be the only area in the world to succeed in forcing Google to change the way it presents its SERPs and promoted results.

Defending Google's proposed changes, Google spokesman, Al Verney, said the firm's proposal "clearly addresses" the areas of concern.

He said: "We continue to work with the commission to settle this case."

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