updated 03:46 pm EDT, Mon July 2, 2012
Terms of negotiation remain unclear
Google has reportedly offered to engage in settlement talks with European Union regulators, in an attempt to avoid a formal legal dispute over lingering antitrust issues. The search giant's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, is said to have sent a letter to EU antitrust commissioner Joaqu Almunia, addressing several concerns that remain focal points in an investigation that could lead to penalties.
Although the investigation has been ongoing for several years, EU regulators in May threatened fines and a formal lawsuit if Google does not voluntarily resolve the issues. Several companies have accused the California-based company of abusing its market position by placing its own vertical search results, for queries such as restaurants or retail products, in a prominent position that overshadows results from competing services.
Regulators also demanded clarification regarding the source of results that are utilized for vertical search. Some competitors claim the company is merely copying the content from third parties and using it to populate its own results.
Other concerns involve contractual restrictions that may prevent third-party ad networks from participating in Google's AdWords campaigns, and alleged restrictions that prevent software developers from creating tools to transfer advertising campaigns between AdWords and other platforms.
Neither Google nor Alumnia have provided further comment regarding Google's specific settlement proposals. [via AP]