Feeds

El Reg drills into Google's search biz offer to Europe

Mountain View wants to choose its EU inspector

High performance access to file storage

Analysis Google's formal offer of concessions to European Commission competition officials - over allegations that the ad giant had abused its dominance of the search market in the EU - have finally been made public.

As we reported on Thursday, rivals now have one month to scrutinise Google's proposals and then tell antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia whether they agree with the remedies submitted by the company. Even if they disagree, the commission can still proceed with a legally-binding settlement with Google that stops far short of sanctions.

Indeed, Brussels has been clear that it wants to reach a deal with Google based on Article 9 of the EU antitrust regulation. Under such a settlement, Google would not be required to admit to any infringement of EU competition law but would need to stick to its commitments laid out to the commission for five years.

If no deal can be agreed, Google could face a fine of up to 10 per cent of its annual worldwide turnover.

Google, in its offer (PDF), said:

Nothing in these commitments should be construed as establishing a violation of EU competition rules or an admission that Google agrees with the concerns expressed in the commission’s preliminary assessment, or with any factual allegation or legal conclusion asserted or referenced by the commission in any final commitments decision, or any other documents or statements released by the commission in connection with this investigation.

Google expressly denies any wrongdoing or that it has any liability relating to the Commission’s investigation under Article 102 TFEU.

The commission, in carefully-worded statements, has previously said that Google "may be abusing its dominant position in the European Economic Area (EEA)".

If Almunia's office should ever confirm that Google had indeed abused its command of the search business in Europe - where it holds a more than 90 per cent share - then the multi-billion dollar outfit would be found in breach of competition law in the EU.

Specifically, Google argues that the commission should respond to its "commitments" favourably, claiming that it would "avoid the time, inconvenience, and expense of ongoing proceedings, with the understanding that the commission will confirm that there are no grounds for further action and will close all open investigations on the four competition concerns".

However, rivals - who are now poring over Google's proposals - remain to be convinced, which is hardly surprising given some of the caveats Google has applied to its submission.

These include the company stating that its commitments involve "technical mechanisms and interactions between multiple different systems against a background of rapidly evolving products, technologies and business models."

That's a statement that arguably would grant Google generous wiggle room for tweaks to its search engine over the next five years, were the settlement plan to be accepted by the commission.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.