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Google and the EC close to end of two-year antitrust probe

Google concessions come hot on heels of fresh complaint over Android monopoly
Fri Apr 12 2013, 12:16
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SEARCH FIRM Google is close to coming to an agreement with the European Commission (EC) about anti-competitive practices.

The two parties have been in talks for two years now, and neither is giving much away on the possible deal.

Although Reuters has it that Google has just made a very large move at appeasement, the firm is not offering any fresh comment. "We continue to cooperate with the European Commission," said a spokesperson.

Reuters reported that an olive branch is at EC competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia's doorstep, and it is now for him to pick it up and look at it. Here, by olive branch, we mean a formally submitted package of concessions.

So what does Almunia have to say on the Google offer?

Well, yesterday he at least appeared to confirm that something was on the table. "I am trying to reach a decision... that will include legally binding commitments based on the Google proposal," he told reporters. We have contacted Almunia's office for more information.

If Google has submitted its list of concessions now, it is probably good timing. This week an anti-trust complaint was filed against its Android operating system by Fairsearch, whose principal members include Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle.

Fairsearch is worried that consumers will suffer and cautioned that Google could be using the mobile operating system as a "Trojan Horse" for snaffling consumer data and disadvantaging the rest of the market.

"We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market," said the group.

"Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google's Android operating system." µ


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