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EU puts new squeeze on Google in anti trust probe

Google logo/FILE

Google logo/FILE

BRUSSELS, September 9 – US Internet giant Google must come up with “new solutions” to meet complaints from competitors about its proposed anti-trust settlement with Brussels, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has said.

Google and the Commission agreed a deal in February over charges the world’s largest search engine was squeezing out competitors in Europe, so avoiding a legal action and potentially billions in fines against the company.

A key feature of the February agreement was that Google would give equal prominence to rival services displayed on its pages, with competitors arguing the company has abused its dominant position in the European market where it accounts for 90 percent of business.

At that time, Almunia said he had expected to wrap up the deal in 2014 once the last competitor complaints were resolved.

However since then “some complainants introduced new arguments, new data, new considerations”, Almunia told Bloomberg TV in an interview.

“We need to analyse this and to see if Google can find solutions to some of these concerns that we consider justified,” he said.

EU rules state that a company found at fault in an anti trust probe can be fined up to 10 percent of its annual sales, in Google’s case some $55.5 billion in 2013.

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