Media News - Friday, September 21, 2012
Europe's antitrust chief has publicly warned Google that it could face charges of breaching EU rules, and be fined, unless it does more to ease concerns that it used its search clout to block rivals. EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia said that so far concessions from Google – which is in talks with the European Commission to resolve complaints from competitors, including Microsoft, which claim it is abusing its dominant position in the search business – had not gone far enough. His warning, made in a speech to Fordham University in New York, ratchets up the pressure on Google by making public the EC's willingness to move to a more confrontational approach to the negotiations, which have been going on since July. If the case moved to the courts and the EC showed that Google had broken EU antitrust laws through the abuse of a dominant position, Google could be fined 10 percent of its worldwide revenues – which for 2011 amounts to EUR 2.9bn. More importantly, Google would be put into a legal straitjacket that would control how it could in future use its search results – rather as Microsoft, which previously fell foul of the EC over the dominant position of its Internet Explorer browser, now finds itself. In Europe, Microsoft is obliged to offer a browser choice screen that lets users choose which of a number of browsers they wish to be the default on their PC. (The Guardian)
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