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Google's antitrust settlement proposal 'not acceptable' to European Commission

Neelie Kroes, Brussels

The European Commissioner for Competition Joaquín Almunia has deemed Google's proposal to halt an antitrust investigation unacceptable. Speaking on Spanish radio, Almunia was clear that Google's offer does not solve the Commission's concerns that Google abuses its dominant position in search. "The latest proposals are not acceptable in the sense that they are not proposals that can eliminate our concerns regarding competition," said Almunia. "At this moment, there is little time left but the ball is still in Google's court ... within a short timeframe, the ball will be there and then it will be the moment to take decisions."

Google has been under antitrust investigation since 2010, and has attempted to halt the investigation by proposing remedies to the European Commission's concerns. The latest of these came this fall, when Google submitted a new set of remedies that were initially received favorably by the Commission, with Almunia even going so far as to say "with the significant improvements on the table I think we have the possibility to work again."

Google could be fined more than $5 billion

The investigation was sparked by claims that Google, as a major leader in search, abuses its dominant position to give preference to its own services. It's also accused of, among other things, ignoring copyright laws by caching webpages without permission, and attempting to prevent clients from using rival advertising services. It could be fined more than $5 billion if it's unable to resolve the Commission's concerns.

The Verge
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