updated 08:44 am EDT, Mon September 9, 2013
European Commission assesses offer
Google has reportedly submitted a second proposal to the European Commission, offering to change its practices to avoid a potential $5 billion fine. The filing follows an earlier proposal that was also aimed at easing antitrust concerns, which focus on Google's prioritization of its own search services over competing services, though the initial concessions were dismissed as insufficient by EU regulators and competitors.
"Given the failure of Google to make a serious offer last time around, we believe it is necessary that customers and competitors of Google be consulted in a full, second market test," said lobbying group FairSearch, which represents Microsoft and other Google competitors, as quoted by Reuters.
Google initially offered to distinguish its own search results for content that does not earn the company money, while advertising-oriented searches would include links from at least three competitors. Content that is all paid advertisements, such as a product search, would be managed by an auction system that would sell the ad spots to the highest bidder.
The company is further accused of copying restaurant and travel reviews from competing services without asking for permission, and placing restrictions on advertisers that makes it difficult to shift an advertising campaign to competing search engines.
"Our proposal to the European Commission addresses their four areas of concern. We continue to work with the Commission to settle this case," said Google spokesman Al Verney.
Google has yet to publicly disclose the contents of its proposal, which is currently being assessed by European Commission regulators.