Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been in a long battle with regulators in the European Union, which have been investigating Mountain View for antitrust allegations regarding Google Search. The EU competition commissioner issued a “deadline” for a settlement offer with the company, and that unofficial deadline is coming in a matter of hours.
Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s antitrust regulatory chief, said last spring that he expected Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) to submit an offer of concessions as a settlement to avoid being found infringing Europe’s antitrust laws and a fine- which may be weighty. Almunia had suggested that an offer would be expected sometime in January. That “deadline” is coming at midnight in Brussels (just a couple hours from publishing of this piece) and there has been no confirmed word than an offer has been tendered.
An EU spokesman said there is no official deadline at this point for a settlement, though Almunia is quoted as saying tha the investigation wasn’t going to stay open forever. As part of the settlement offer, Almunia asked Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) to address claims that it promotes its own partner sites and services in its search results; duplicates travel and restaurant reviews by rivals; and alliances with opartner web sites and software developers that dramatically restricts advertising competition.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has not commented officially yet, other than the standing note that it is continuing to work collaboratively with EU regulators. Almunia has not said what the next steps are if this artificial deadline comes and goes without a settlement offer.
What do you think of this pursuit by the EU? Will Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) ultimately be found in violation of antitrust regulations? Give us your thoughts on this protracted case in the comments section below.
DISCLOSURE: I own no positions in any stock mentioned.
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