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Google proposes changes to European competition watchdog

PTI Brussels | Updated on March 12, 2018

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After allegations by the European Commissioner for Competition, Mr Joaquin Almunia, of possible abuse of its dominance as an internet search engine, the Google Inc chairman Mr Eric Schmidt has proposed a series of changes.

Almunia’s spokesman, Mr Antoine Columbani, confirmed receiving a letter from Mr Schmidt on Monday, but did not disclose details.

The commission began investigating Google in 2010, and in May of this year, Mr Almunia warned Google it needed to quickly propose changes to several practices, including the way it promotes its own offerings in search results, or face possible fines.

“We have made a proposal to address the four areas the European Commission described as potential concerns,” said Mr Al Verney, a Google spokesman in Brussels. “We continue to work cooperatively with the commission.”

It is not clear what changes Google has offered to make.

The four areas the Commission criticised were Google’s preferential treatment of its own services in search results; its copying material from other search engines in results; its lock on the market for advertisements placed on websites that embed a tailored version of Google’s search engine; and the difficulty competitors face in bidding to place their advertisements on sites that use Google’s AdWords advertising system.

In a shift of tactics from his predecessor Mr Neelie Kroes, Mr Almunia said in May he would prefer to end market abuses as soon as possible, rather than fine misbehaviour retroactively, especially in the Internet industry.

Published on July 03, 2012

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