Here's what Google will look like in a post-antitrust Europe

Summary:Google and Europe are hammering out an antitrust settlement. Whether or not EU regulators will bite remains another thing, however.

Google isn't exactly in the European Union's good-books at the moment, as the Internet giant continues to negotiate a settlement with the 28 member state bloc amid allegations of anticompetitive business practices.

After a series of back and forth's between the two, Google's latest settlement package may be just enough to appease regulators, who are eyeing a $5 billion fine or  a partial block of its business  in the region as a backup last resort.

First published by London's Financial Times (paywalled), leaked images show what Google may look like in Europe after a antitrust settlement is hammered out. The new competition links, which appear under the paid-for "sponsored" search results, are a subtle but important change. With larger text and icons, it allows users to check results from rival search engines and services.

This was one of the biggest reported gripes by EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia with the search giant, noted in a four-pointed letter sent to Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

In the letter, he accused Google of "de facto exclusivity" to shut out competing advertising services, which harms competition.

Here's what it looks like:

Image: Google/EU; via The Financial Times

According to the publication, there are 424 new insertions, 377 deletions, and 863 total changes to Google's first offer, as noted by the EU document (labeled "restricted use").

Image: Google/EU; via The Financial Times

Topics: Cloud, Networking


Zack Whittaker is a writer-editor for ZDNet, and sister sites CNET and CBS News. He is based in the New York newsroom. His PGP key is: EB6CEEA5.

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