EU says Google antitrust decision close

The European Commission's antitrust chief says a decision on Google's antitrust case is near — and warned that because the search giant's share is larger in the EU, it will not follow its American counterpart's earlier decision.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: Google via CNET

Europe's antitrust chief said on Wednesday, less than a month after Google submitted a new round of concessions to address anticompetitive concerns, that his agency is nearing the conclusion of its three-year investigation.

In a speech given in Washington D.C., EU Competition Commission Joaquin Almunia said he asked Google to "improve its [concessions] offer," and noted discussions into a final decision are "ongoing."

Almunia said despite a similar ruling by its American counterparts, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) earlier this year, the EU authorities will not reach identical conclusions because Google's market share in the 28 member state bloc is far larger, reports the Associated Press.

Google has a market share of more than 90 percent in online search, according to Almunia.

The FTC settled its case into Google's anticompetitive practices in the U.S. in early January. Google avoided a fine, but was told to alter its business practices as a result of the settlement.

Google resubmitted its concessions package earlier this month as part of efforts to avoid a fine of up to $5 billion. 

The new proposals, which were later confirmed by the Commission, will aim to resolve differences between the company and the 28 member state bloc, amid calls that Google is stifling competition in the region.

"We will not have to wait a long time to see which of the routes will be chosen," Almunia said. "But this is only one case among many others, albeit a very visible one."

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