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You, Google. Get back here and bend over again - EU antitrust chief

Fresh fat fine threat dangled over ad giant in rival-stiffing probe

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Brussels' antitrust chief has demanded Google once again rejigs its web search business - or risk a fat fine for breaching EU competition law.

Joaquin Almunia told reporters today that he has asked the advertising giant "to present better proposals, or improved proposals" to address accusations that it abused its dominant position to stiff rivals. The web giant commands about 90 per cent of the online search market in Europe.

Antitrust commissioner Almunia is investigating the allegations that Google unfairly lowballs its rivals in search results, promotes its own stuff and lifts material from competing websites.

But Google, which has proposed ways in which it will change its European search operation to keep everyone happy, insisted today that its efforts to bring an end to the saga were good enough. It told The Register:

Our proposal to the European Commission clearly addresses their four areas of concern. We continue to work with the Commission to settle this case.

However, Almunia warned in May that it was highly likely that he would once again insist that the multinational amends its proposals as they hadn't gone far enough.

As we reported last month, the groundwork was already being laid within Brussels to allow Google more time to rework its offer to the commission. It now means that the probe looks certain to rumble on at least until the end of this year.

El Reg asked Almunia's office to comment on this story, but it hadn't got back to us at time of writing. ®

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