Google was asked to respond to the chief of the European Commissions antitrust – Joaquin Almunia with the deadline for a submission from Google about the way that it operates being set as today, January 31 and Google only just scrapping by to meet it.
Today was the final day that Google had to come up with suggestions about how it could fulfill the requirements set out by the EC antitrust commission, if Google failed to meet this deadline then they would be facing serious fines for abusing its monopoly on the search engine results.
The contents of the proposal from Google have yet to be published by wither Google or the European Commission and there has been no comment from Google about them only just managing to make the deadline.
Since November 2010 the European Commission has been investigating the practices of Google and in the summer of 2012 the EC issued what was declared as a “Statement of Objection”:
A statement of objection is the final stage before fines are placed on the company which could amount to 10 percent of the company’s total turnover if no compromise to the situation could be found by both sides.
Joaquin Almunia has said that Google effectively has a monopoly on search results in Europe with data from the EC showing that Google has a total of 90 percent of the total share of searches across the continent, a very high level compared to 65 percent in America.
He added that he believes Google is taking an unfair advantage of the position that it holds in Europe and told the Financial Times in an interview earlier this year that “we are still investigating, but my conviction is they are diverting traffic” from rival services through the way that they manage to order the results of searches through Google.
He added: “They are monetising this kind of business, the strong position they have in the search market, and this is not only a dominant position, I think – I fear – there is an abuse of dominant position.”
The submission from Google will have to find a way to address the concerns of Almunia and will have to show that Google are not favouring their own search results above those of their competitors.
Microsoft are backing a lobby group against Google and see this as the “first step” in dealing with the way that Google currently operates. Microsoft added that they would be monitoring the situation with Google and the EC very closely.
The lobby group said: “To be seen as a success, any settlement must … include specific measures to restore competition and allow other parties to compete effectively on a level playing field with Google in the key markets of search and search advertising.”