Google Submits Proposal to European Regulators in Antitrust Case

July 03, 2012
By: Rory Lidstone

Google's legal issues in Europe are almost as extensive as Apple's (News - Alert) issues with Samsung. Google chairman Eric Schmidt has, however, submitted a proposal to European regulators in Brussels in the hopes of avoiding a showdown in regards to the company's business practices.

These issues go all the way back to 2010, when Joaquin Almunia, the European Competition Commissioner, began investigating Google (News - Alert). Everything came to a head in May of this year when Alumnia warned the search giant that it needed to quickly propose changes to several of its practices, namely the way it promotes its own offerings in search results.

"We have made a proposal to address the four areas the European Commission described as potential concerns," Al Verney, a Google spokesman in Brussels, told the Associated Press. "We continue to work cooperatively with the commission."

It's not known yet what changes Google has offered to make, but the areas criticized by the Commission were: the way Google favors its own services in search results, how it displays content from other websites, how it manages ads that appear next to search results and the way its actions affect marketers' ability to buy ads on rival networks.

If a settlement isn't reached, which would lead to the European Commission filing a case against Google, the company could end up being fined up to 10 percent of its annual revenue. Based on Google's revenue last year, the fine could be as much as $3.8 billion — a hefty sum, even for a multibillion dollar corporation.

Alumnia stated in May, however, that he would prefer to "end market abuses as soon as possible, rather than fine misbehavior retroactively."

In June, Google dealt with different concerns regarding its services, namely Google Street View. In Britain, an investigation into this service was reopened after a British government agency decided that Google had "deliberately captured" private data. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, the search giant was let off the hook by the country's Supreme Court, which repealed a lower court decision that dictated Google had to blur the faces of every single person in Switzerland Street View.



 




Edited by Brooke Neuman