Feeds

Google gets closer to EU antitrust deal over search dominance 'abuse'

Likelier than ever to avoid fines, having to admit wrongdoing

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

But will scrutiny of Google be properly independent if deal is reached?

In its original offer in March, Google unashamedly said that it wanted to appoint the "monitoring trustee" who would be required to closely inspect the ad giant to ensure it sticks to its commitments with the commission.

Google had proposed putting forward a list of suitable candidates for the role. That trustee, Google claimed, would be independent from the company but paid by Mountain View to carry out the work.

"The monitoring trustee shall be remunerated by Google in a way that does not influence or impede the independent and effective fulfilment of its mandate," Google said at the time.

Almunia told MPs today that "in a commitment that in my view deserves careful attention, an independent monitoring trustee would be put in place to provide assistance to the Commission in ensuring that the principles outlined in Google's proposals would be implemented in practice."

It's not yet clear if the "careful attention" the commissioner talks of has anything to do with Google hiring the trustee, or whether the individual will, in fact, be truly independent of the company.

Settlement could be agreed by next spring

The commissioner said that he was now at a "key moment" in a case that has rumbled on for nearly three years.

He said Google would "support its new proposals with empirical data to show their impact."

As a next step, I will seek feedback on the improved commitments proposal from complainants and other relevant market participants. To that end, we will send information requests, on the basis of the EU Antitrust Regulation 1/2003, on the improvements that are being proposed.

We know the general positions of the complainants and other stakeholders. What we need now is to receive concrete technical elements on the effectiveness of the proposed package in order to conclude whether this new proposal is satisfactory from a competition point of view.

If our investigation on this improved proposal is satisfactory, I will continue the commitments route [Article 9] and end up with a formal decision next Spring. Otherwise, I will be forced to turn to a procedure under Article 7 of the Antitrust Regulation [PDF]: this would mean sending a Statement of Objections to Google in the coming months, to which Google could formally respond in writing and during an Oral Hearing.

Almunia concluded: "I think the settlement route remains the best choice."

Complainants against Google are now digesting the commissioner's remarks in Parliament this morning. The ICOMP lobby group – which counts Google's bitter rival Microsoft as a member – appeared unsatisfied with Almunia's speech.

Its legal counsel David Wood said, according to tweets from ICOMP: "It's unclear that the revised commitments go nearly far enough to meet third party concerns and restore competition, not least because it's unclear how much detail of the proposed package and supporting data will be made public."

He added: "The Commission's plan to issue Requests for Information would seem much less satisfactory than a second formal market test." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.