Google Inc. must submit remedies within weeks to assuage European Union regulators’ antitrust concerns to avoid a formal complaint and possible fines, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.
Almunia asked the company to send him proposals within “a matter of weeks” to eliminate concerns that Google promotes its own specialist “vertical” search services, that it copies rival content including travel and restaurant reviews and that its contracts with software developers prevent ads from being moved to different services.
“I am today giving Google an opportunity to offer remedies to address concerns we have already identified,” Almunia told reporters today in Brussels. “Any final proposal by Google will be market tested before it’s made legally binding by the commission.”
Google, based in Mountain View, California, is under growing pressure from global regulators probing whether the company is thwarting competition in the market for Web searches. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and antitrust agencies in Argentina and South Korea are also scrutinizing the company.
Al Verney, a spokesman for Google, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and an e-mail seeking comment.
While Microsoft Corp. and partner Yahoo! Inc. have about a quarter of the U.S. Web-search market, Google has almost 95 percent of the traffic in Europe, Microsoft said in a blog post last year, citing data from regulators.
Regulators in 2010 started investigating claims that Google discriminated against other services in its search results and stopped some websites from accepting rival ads.
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