EU receives Google’s proposal in antitrust case

Google Inc. today submitted to European Union officials a set of recommendations intended to put an end to the three-year antitrust case against the search engine company.

However, neither the company, nor EU officials are releasing any details about the proposal, according to a report from the New York Times.

Representative of the Initiative for Competitive Online Marketplace (ICOMP), the Microsoft Inc.-backed group of businesses that compete with Google, call for caution in accepting the proposal.

David Wood, lawyer for ICOMP, said the settlement needs to include specific measures aimed at restoring competition and enabling other businesses to compete on a “level playing field.”

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Microsoft-backed groups praise EU’s antitrust ultimatumJoaquin Almunia, the European competition commissioner has been investigating Google since November 2010. Google has blamed Microsoft for instigating the probe.

Last year, EU antitrust regulators issued an ultimatum to Google for its alleged anti-competitive practices. Almunia came up with four areas of concern, all focusing on search and online advertising.

Industry observers speculate that Google may offer to change how it conducts its online search business in Europe to address concerns that the practices are unfair to other Web publishers and competitors.

Last month, Google reached a settlement with the United States Federal Trade Commission on another antitrust case. Google agreed to change its business practices in markets for mobile devices and game systems as well as provide advertisers the flexibility to use rival search engines.

Should Almunia accept Google’s proposal, the company may be able to avoid further investigations which could lead to fines of up to 10 per cent of its global sales, which in 2012 came up to about $50 billion.

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