Round and round she goes. The European Commission is seeking a final round of “concessions” from Google in an 11th hour effort to settle potential antitrust claims against the company.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia made public statements asserting that Google needs to deliver additional, revised proposals within weeks to avoid a formal antitrust proceeding. What we have now is a kind of high stakes game of chicken.
For well over a year there has been a very public back and forth between Google, the European Commission and Google’s rivals, who object to the various proposals floated to date. The chief concern or sticking point involves the presentation of ”Google content” above third party organic links.
Google had proposed that three “rival links” be prominently featured at the top of search results to appease its competitors and the EU. However several sets of studies (many funded by Google competitors) have concluded this approach does little to drive additional traffic to competitors’ sites.
For more context, here’s a roundup of our recent coverage on the state of Google’s antitrust settlement proposals:
- EU: Google Antitrust Concessions “Unacceptable” As Second Study Condemns “Rival Links”
- Google To Get EU “Watchdog” As Part Of Antitrust Settlement
- New Concessions From Google Seek To Avoid EU Antitrust Penalties
- Google’s New European “Antitrust” Search Results: Here’s What They’ll Look Like
Google has long maintained that it is compliant with European privacy standards and rules and has declined to make any changes in response to French demands. The company is appealing the fine and ruling to the Conseil d’Etat, which is France’s “highest administrative court.”
The EU opened its investigation in November 2010, and it has now taken 38 months of time with no resolution. The US FTC’s case involving Google took 19 months to reach a conclusion.