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EU gives Google 'weeks' to satisfy competition concerns

Regulator asks Google to make amends as investigation claims the internet search king has abused its dominant market position

AFP, Monday 21 May 2012
European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia addresses a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels May 8, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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European Union anti-trust chiefs said Monday they had asked Google to come up with "remedies" to satisfy Brussels concerns the internet search king has abused its dominant market position.

"If Google comes up with remedies" within "a matter of weeks," Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told a news conference, the EU will negotiate "instead of having to pursue proceedings and fines."

In November 2010, the European Commission launched an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google had abused a dominant market position, following complaints from rivals.

Almunia said the probe had identified areas of significant concern in Brussels, notably: "preferential treatment" in the hierarchical presentation of search results; doubts over Google's full respect of copyrights; and "restrictions" written into advertising contracts and the "portability" of advertising across different Internet platforms.

"Should this process fail to deliver a satisfactory set of remedies, the on-going formal proceedings will of course continue," Almunia said, with a possible next legal step being a formal statement of objections.

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