Google, EU Reach Apparent Settlement in Antitrust Cases
Google will also no longer be permitted to impose exclusivity requirements in agreements with online publishers for the display of Google search advertisements displayed on their Websites, the EU stated.
"Google's agreements with publishers result in (de facto) exclusivity. This means that these agreements require publishers to obtain all or most of the search advertisements displayed on their Websites from Google. Google's competitors therefore have only limited access to those publishers. To address this concern, Google proposes no longer to include in its agreements with publishers any written or unwritten obligations that would require them to source online search advertisements exclusively from Google."
Finally, the settlement also addresses another concern from Google's competitors—"that Google does not allow software developers to offer software tools that make it easy to manage and transfer search advertising campaigns across AdWords and other search advertising platforms such as Microsoft's AdCenter," according to the EU. "To address this concern, Google proposes no longer to impose obligations that would prevent advertisers from porting or managing search advertising campaigns across competing advertising platforms."The settlement dance between the EU and Google has been going on since at least early 2013, when it appeared that the two sides were close to a tentative deal. Similar rumors about settlements also surfaced in November 2013. But competitors, including Microsoft, Expedia and Foundem often criticized the proposals that arose in the past, arguing that they still didn't go far enough to level the playing field for rivals. In October 2013, after Google had submitted an earlier settlement offer, the EU asked Google rivals for their opinions on the offer from Google. Those rivals loudly criticized the company's proposals at the time. In September, Google had submitted a fresh batch of concession proposals to the EU, but they failed to address the key concerns of the EU and the complainants in the case. Those proposals arrived two months after the EC had asked for more concession ideas from Google. The EC had been seeking Google's ideas on how it could settle complaints that the company was blocking competitors' results in Web searches in favor of its own results.