Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) knows the European Union Competition Commissioner on a first-name basis by now. After all, when the man who oversees a nearly three-year investigation into anti-competitive business practice claims and has dealt with the company several times by letter or in-person meetings over those three years, chances are the interactions can be casual after a while. (We have documented at least some of this process before.)
But when it comes to securing open competition, it is serious business for the EU Competition Commission and it takes its work very seriously. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is still in the crosshairs of the commission even after submitted proposals back in April that were designed to remedy the antitrust investigation into Google and its search engine, which has been claimed to punish any and all rival websites and services that are available online.
Google was asked to submit proposed changes back in April, and the EU ran a series of field tests on the proposed search changes to check their effectiveness and balancing out the competition on Google Search results, which have been claimed to favor Google and partner sites and services first while pushing all competition further down the page of results – even if the rival results were actually more relevant to the search inquiry terms.
However, as a result of the field test, Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia revealed this week that he sent a letter to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) executive chairman Eric Schmidt advising him that the proposals sent forth were not adequately addressing the concerns of the EU Competition Commission nor of those who filed the original complaints, and that the company was now demanded to come up with better ideas or risk formal legal proceedings on the antitrust, anti-competition charges. There is no word as to what the new deadline will be for the new proposals.
“After the analysis of the results of the market test that concluded at the end of last month … I concluded that the proposals that Google sent to us months ago are not enough to overcome our concerns,” Almunia said. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Search has had a 90-percent market share in Europe for the past five years, according to regular data reports.
If Google breaks any commitments or fails to present adequate remedies for the anti-competitive concerns, the company could face a fine of as much as 10 percent of its annual global revenue, which would translate to hundreds of millions of dollars.