Google settles antitrust probe with European Union, will promote rival services

By on February 5, 2014, 12:00 PM
google, eu, european commission, antitrust case, rival services, links

Google has reached a settlement with the European Union to end a three-year antitrust probe that could have resulted in a fine of up to $5 billion, or 10 percent of the search giant’s 2012 revenue. Instead, Google will change how they display competitors’ links on their website over the next five years.

The agreement will allow Google to continue to add new services and alter its search page so long as they post links to at least three rival search services near their own results. These competitors will pay a minimum of 3 euro cents ($0.04) for the opportunity to be included in these coveted spots.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said the concessions with Google are far-reaching and have a clear potential to restore a level playing field in online search and marketing. The commissioner noted that no antitrust authority in the world has obtained such concessions.

The European Union may see it as a win but how big of a deal is it really? According to Strategy Analytics’ Ed Barton, it barely makes any substantive impact at all. If it enabled them to do anything that might actually impact the business meaningfully, Google wouldn’t have agreed to it, he said.

Google has been under the microscope since November 2010 after more than a dozen complaints flowed in accusing them of promoting their services at the expense of others. The search giant tried twice before to resolve the matter but was unsuccessful.

User Comments: 5

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Guest said:

$4 not $0.04!!

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I guess Bing is next?

Unless I'm missing something, the EU should be ashamed for this quick money grab.

If promoting your own services is against the law everything would be incredibly twisted.

wastedkill said:

Whoa thats pushing the bar $4 to get advertised by your competitor it should cost a hell of a lot more than that, I dont get what all the fuss is about its anti-competitive for a competitor to basically tell others about their competitors services.

Google own and the other google companies so they should be allowed to say remove the competitors from their own search like they normally do. Its like microsoft being told they have to put a option for others to install linux when you use a windows installation disk.

Soon Apple will be forced to put their competitors products on their site.

Guest said:

Hopefully it will work as well as having Microsoft allow you to choose a different search engine. In India we can select a different search engine, but it will not actually use it or allow you to save your choice.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

This is a joke, right?

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