EU regulators intend to reduce Google’s overall operations following a search competition investigation, the EU’s antitrust chief said, raising the stakes in future deal negotiations.
Google has been accused by rivals of abusing its dominant position in the market, and the European Commission said in May that it was concerned about its alleged anti-competitive behavior.
The Commission normally seeks concessions that would benefit European consumers, but has sometimes called for broader solutions.
«We will look for solutions at a global level, it will not be very useful to get solutions at a European level,» EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia told a news conference.
We will look for solutions at a global level, it will not be very useful to find solutions at a European level
Google’s case is key to Almunia, and its call for globally applicable solutions, which could make an EU decision serve as a model for global regulators, shows another way it is trying to make its mark on politics. . EU jurisdiction.
You are also interested in higher speed, especially for an industry that is constantly innovating. In May, he said he wanted the Commission to get a faster resolution on Google than in previous cases. One involving Microsoft was filed in 1998 and received only a final ruling this year.
The EU supervisory body said Google’s search results could unfairly favor its services over those of its rivals and could copy material from other websites, such as travel reviews and restaurants, without permission. .
Avoid a long fight, do you avoid fines?
Google also wants to avoid a prolonged battle like Microsoft’s, as well as a penalty: Microsoft has been fined more than 1 billion euros by the Commission.
The company carefully avoided public confrontation with the Commission and tried to build an image in Europe as a sponsor of cultural technology projects.
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia’s call for a comprehensive solution highlights the global nature of the technology industry, an issue that regulators in different jurisdictions will have to address.
«With technology markets, we can expect to see more and more solutions for a global market,» said Mark Tricker, a partner at law firm Norton Rose. «Google is interested in agreeing to this. If it is investigated in other countries, then you can say that these concerns have been addressed in the EU. «
When asked to comment on Almunia’s comments, Google spokesman Al Verney said: «We continue to work in cooperation with the European Commission.»
The commission said it had reached a «good level of understanding» with Google, which would form the basis of technical talks to address its concerns.
Google, in order to comply with EU requests, has already revised the initial proposals for resolving the dispute to cover all platforms, including computers, tablets and mobile devices, someone familiar with the case told Reuters.
Almunia said other parts of Google’s business could be further examined. «We have not opened any other investigation, but I do not rule out that in the future other aspects of Google’s business could follow the path of the investigation we launched in 2010,» he said.
Earlier, said other complaints about Google’s best-selling smartphone operating system, Android.
Regulators will discuss the technical details of Google’s proposals in the coming weeks, although there is no deadline for a decision, Almunia said.
However, analysts warned that a statement of objections, an official tax return, remained a possibility despite apparent progress towards a solution.
The European Commission can fine companies with up to 10% of their annual revenue, which in the case of Google amounts to about $ 4 billion.