Google Offers Concessions To European Commission Over Antitrust Probe

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Google has submitted a package of concessions to the European Commission after nearly a year of negotiations: With the firm looking to put an end to the body's ongoing antitrust investigation.

Lead by antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia, the EC has been investigating the search engine giant for more than two and a half years.

To try to bring an amicable end to the antitrust investigation, Google first offered a number of proposals in January. Some of the latest reported compromises include labelling its own products like Google Shopping and YouTube on the pages generated from a users search query and putting an end to scraping content from other rival sites.

the Internet giant's suggestions will now be put under market scrutiny from complainants who have been very vocal in their opposition to Google over a number of things the search engine does.

In the last few months alone, a number of companies have gathered together to expression their frustration over Google to the European Commission.

Only last month, a group including Foundem, Expedia and TripAdvisor, placed particular emphasis on issues related to 'vertical search' and 'search neutrality'.

They believed Google was, and still is, unfairly favouring its own services by often featuring them higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP): In SEO terms a page one ranking, and especially a high one, is seen as being the holy grail, with users rarely venturing past the first one or two SERPs.

More recently, Fairsearch Europe, a group of 17 tech firms including rival Microsoft as well as Nokia and Oracle, criticised Google's Android system, again over what it deemed was "a deceptive way to build advantages" in the mobile market. The Android OS is not part of the EC's antitrust investigation however.

European Commission spokesman on competition policy, Antoine Colombani, said: "In the last few weeks, the Commission completed its preliminary assessment formally setting out its concerns. On this basis, Google then made a formal submission of commitments to the Commission.

"We are now preparing the launch of a market test to seek feedback from market players, including complainants, on these commitment proposals."

The Internet giant always denied any unfair manipulation of search results and in a similar antitrust case in the US, the FTC found Google not guilty of any wrongdoings following a two-year investigation.

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