Google told to change mobile services in antitrust talks

Google told to change mobile services in antitrust talks

Summary: The search giant is told -- according to reports -- that to settle an ongoing antitrust probe, it may have to make drastic changes to its mobile service as well as fixing other complaints.

TOPICS: Google, Mobility, EU

EU regulators are pushing for Google to make significant changes to its mobile service as part of efforts to settle an antitrust investigation, a London newspaper reports.

The Financial Times said the outcome of the case could rest on Google's "willingness" to extend the scope of the settlement to mobile services, which would include mobile search and advertising as part of the agreement should Google wish to settle.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is pushing for a swift outcome to the case, but only should certain conditions be met. Swift outcome or not, Almunia said that "formal proceedings will continue" if the EU doesn't get its way.

Talks between the search giant and European officials are said to be on a "knife-edge," reports Reuters, with an expectation that Almunia could decide as early as next week on a decision whether to charge the company or not.

The case stems back to the EU's concerns that Google is pushing out competitors by "copying" content from other sites, and makes it more difficult for advertisers to move away to rival search engines, among others. 

The initial letter sent by Schmidt to Almunia addressed the "four areas the European Commission described" in June -- which can be found here. The details of the letter were not disclosed, however.

Should Google fail to settle the case, the search giant will be served an official antitrust complaint in form of a statement of objections, which opens the door to a fine of up to 10 percent of its global annual revenue -- close to $4 billion.

A Google spokesperson said, "We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission," according to sister site CNET.

Topics: Google, Mobility, EU

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Google's anti-trust karma

    What goes around, comes around. Google has gone out of its way to lobby for anti-trust actions against Microsoft.

    There's a wise old saying:

    "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
    Tim Acheson
    • I'm just wondering what the big problem is

      Is it really that hard for competing search engines to do what Google does?
      And for the advertisers, why not move the ads away from Google and to the top sites in the top results for popular searches?

      I don't see how this is even remotely close to the kind of lock-in effects DirectX in Windows creates, among others.
  • Google negotiating an all platform deal for MS and Apple

    Hard to feel sorry for Google. Google gets to set reciprocal standards for all devices, operating systems, browsers, search engines, and trusted-Apps. What a burden. Please don't throw me in that briar patch.
    • Examples?

      I don't know of a single standard where Google has the power to simply impose their will on others against their wishes. Maybe you're talking about Android, but you can chose to not use it. Or you're talking about involvement in HTML5 development? No difference from MS and Apple there. Same for everything else there.

      Can you name anyone who's better than Google by your standards? And why?