Google Sends Antitrust Remedy Proposals to EU: Report

Google again makes its case as it seeks a way to resolve the European Union's antitrust concerns about the company's business practices.

Google has again sent a list of proposals to the European Union for how it can change its business practices to resolve EU concerns about Google's conduct in the marketplace.

The development, which has been awaited for weeks, was reported in a Jan. 31 article by The Register. Google had sent previous lists of proposals to the EU last summer, but those earlier proposals failed to satisfy European regulators. Google was given more time, until Jan. 31, to submit new proposals.

"It would appear that its latest effort to offer a remedy to antitrust concerns laid out last year by [EU] Commissioner Joaquin Almunia came at the eleventh hour," reported The Register.

"Just yesterday, it was reported that Almunia had expressed skepticism about Google hitting that deadline," according to the story. "On Wednesday, the commissioner jabbed: 'Today is the 30th and tomorrow is the 31st, so I can imagine the proposals are flying in.'"

The EU investigation centers on what they regard as Google's dominant position in search.

In July 2012, Google executives sent a list of initial concessions to address the potential antitrust concerns. At that time, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt sent a letter to the EU's Almunia, outlining steps the massive Web company would be willing to take to resolve the EU's concerns, including claims that it favors its own search results over others.

Almunia had given Google officials that opportunity to address that issue and other concerns, including the use of material from other search engines in its results and its dominance in Web advertising, all of which investigators said put competitors at an unfair advantage.

Since that time, Almunia again spoke to Google's Schmidt and asked for more clarification of Google's proposals from early July.

Google officials are under investigation in Europe, the United States and elsewhere regarding its search engine, which holds more than 60 percent of the search market, with Microsoft's Bing being a distant second. Competitors have claimed that Google works its search algorithms to favor its own products and results over those of others, giving it an unfair advantage in search and Web advertising.

A guilty verdict on such charges could mean a fine of up to 10 percent of Google's annual revenue, which based on its 2011 annual results, would amount to about $4 billion.

Google's legal situation in Europe continues even as a similar antitrust probe in the United States was resolved in Google's favor earlier this month.