The three year old antitrust case between Google and European regulators is nearing a settlement whereby the former has finally agreed to demarcate advertisements and provide rivals greater screen space for their products and services.
As per the tentative settlement, Google is not required to pay any fine, which could have been as high as $5 billion. The California based company however did not admit of any wrongdoing in this case.
The search engine giant has agreed to makes changes in the way contents of other advertisers and rivals are being displayed in Europe. This means that products and services offered by alternative suppliers will also be highlighted prominently on Google’s search screen along with the search engine’s own product and services. If a Google advertising link has a picture, the alternatives too will have a picture alongside their links, for which they will have to pay Google.
Google, which captures more than 90 percent of the European countries’ search market, in a statement confirmed that the deal will see “significant changes” to the way it operates in Europe. The deal however will not have any effect on its American version.
The agreement ensures that Google will make it easier for advertisers to showcase their ads simultaneously on Google’s ad platform and even on those of competitors. According to the deal, more control will go in the hands of third-party sites to ensure their content is listed in search results.
Two of Google’s earlier proposals were rejected by the European Commission, this time however, Joaquín Almunia, the European commissioner for competition, said that Google’s new proposal addressed the commission’s concerns.
“I believe that the new proposal obtained from Google after long and difficult talks can now address the Commission’s concerns”, said Almunia.
Turning this proposal into a legally binding obligation for Google would ensure that competitive conditions are both restored quickly and maintained over the next years.”
Almunia further clarified that though Google’s latest offer is acceptable, the final decision would take some more time.