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EU Demands Google Inc (GOOG) Do More to Settle Antitrust Case

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BERLIN (AP) — The European Union’s antitrust chief said Tuesday that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will have to offer more changes to the way it displays search results to settle a pending case.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)

The period to examine Google’s proposals has been extended by one month and his office will ask Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) with “almost 100 percent” certainty in June to do yet more, Joaquin Almunia told the European Parliament.

Google’s search engine, which is the world’s most influential gateway to online information and commerce, enjoys a near-monopoly in Europe with a market share of above 90 percent.

The EU Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s antitrust authority, has been investigating since 2010 whether Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is abusing its dominant market position. It pointed out several areas of concern that Google is now trying to address through the proposed concessions.

Google has offered to more clearly label search results stemming from its own services, such as Google News, Google Maps, or its shopping and flight search functions. That would allow users to distinguish between natural search results and others promoted by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). It also agreed to display some search results from its competitors and links to their services, the EU Commission said last month.

Google said Wednesday it considers its proposals to be sufficient, but pledged again to seek a settlement with the Commission.

“We believe our proposal to the European Commission addresses the four concerns that were raised,” said company spokesman Al Verney. “We continue to work with the Commission to settle this case,” he added.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s concessions were put to a so-called market test, which gives competitors and other interested parties the possibility to provide the Commission with feedback. Once the Commission accepts the remedies, they become legally binding in Europe for Google.

“This market test should have been concluded yesterday, but at the request of some participants we have decided to prolong it by one month,” Almunia told lawmakers in Brussels.

“After we have analyzed the responses we have received, we will ask Google probably — I cannot anticipate this formally — but almost 100 percent, we will ask Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’you should improve your proposals,'” the Spaniard said. He didn’t specify the areas where Google would need to make improvements.

The complainants against Google include tech giants and Internet companies such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Nokia Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:NOK), Expedia Inc (NASDAQ:EXPE) , and Tripadvisor Inc (NASDAQ:TRIP).

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