In an update to our earlier post, Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has apparently stepped up and submitted a detailed proposal of steps it promises to take in order to avoid a stiff fine from European Union antitrust regulators.
A confirmed report indicated that Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) did submit its proposal of settlement to EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia overnight Friday, which if accepted would end a nearly two-year antitrust investigation into Google Search, which has been charged with weighting its search results in favor of its own services and partner web sites. More than a dozen companies filed complaints, including Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), claiming that instead of having the most relevant search results first, Google would place the results on their own and allied sites first regardless of relevance.
There are no details released about the settlement proposal submitted by Google, but Almunia said, “We are analyzing it.” Once this proposal is reviewed by Almunia and regulators, the EU will request feedback from competitors and will field a market test of the proposals before making a final decision. If the proposal is accepted, Google will avoid a fine that could be as large as $4 billion.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is also charged with copying travel and restaurant reviews from rival web sites, and imposing restrictions on advertisers to prevent them from moving their campaigns to other search engines like Bing from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO).
What do you think? Will Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) settle this and escape a fine, or is Google actually guilty of antitrust violations? Will this affect Google in the European market, regardless of the result? We’d like your thoughts in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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