As anti-trust talks between the European Union and Google come close to a conclusion, the key anti-trust enforcer has brought up a new objection. Joaquín Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, is demanding the company make broad changes to its mobile services, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Google and the European Union have long been engaged in talks to settle concerns over alleged anti-competitive practices, but mobile has never specifically been an issue in the past.
Almunia previously expressed concern about possible bias by Google in the way it links to its own properties. Additionally, talks have involved Google’s display of scraped user reviews on its own pages, its relationship with publishers and its restrictions on advertisers moving their campaigns to rival search engines.
It’s unclear how Google will respond to the introduction of a new subject of negotiation just as the parties were reportedly close to reaching a settlement after longstanding talks. Google wouldn’t comment specifically, only saying, ”We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission.”
Should the parties not reach an agreement, the EU would likely file formal charges against Google, which would likely lead to a very costly legal battle. Google is also under scrutiny by the US Federal Trade Commission related to alleged anti-competitive business practices.