EU warms to Google antitrust concessions

Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:28pm EDT
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By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Google took a significant step toward resolving its antitrust problems in the EU after regulators warmed to new concessions offered to settle an investigation into alleged anti-competitive behaviour and avert a possible fine.

The European Commission said on Tuesday that there was a "level of good understanding" with the world's most popular search engine regarding its latest proposals that would form the basis of discussions before the Commission makes a final decision whether to accept them.

The comments from the Commission came after Google - to comply with the EU watchdog's demand - revised initial proposals to cover computers, tablets and mobile devices, a source said.

The Commission did not say what Google had proposed but did say that the concessions formed the basis of further technical discussions.

If the company does eventually convince the EU regulator of the merits of its offer, it would avoid the kind of lengthy battle that plagued its rival Microsoft in the last decade and ended in more than a billion euros in fines.

"I can confirm we have reached a good level of understanding with Google based on its proposals," EU competition policy spokesman Antoine Colombani said on Tuesday.

"There will soon be discussions at technical level. We hope this process will lead to remedies addressing our concerns," he said.

A Google spokeswoman said: "We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission."   Continued...

Attendees sits in front of a Google logo during Google I/O Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Stephen Lam