Feeds

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

Mountain View wants to choose its EU inspector

New hybrid storage solutions

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.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.