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Google's workaround to end EU probe should be rejected, says Foundem

Says it will fail to restore competition
Tue May 14 2013, 16:08
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INTERNET GIANT Google's proposed changes to end the European Commission (EC) probe of its alleged anticompetitive search practices should be rejected, UK company Foundem has claimed.

In April Google offered the EC a list of proposed changes it will make in order to end the investigation into its search practices, which included advertising rivals' services and no longer forcing publishers to advertise only using its services.

Following this proposal, the EC opened a month-long comment period on 25 April to allow rivals to assess what Google is offering.

Foundem, a UK based shopping comparison website, isn't happy about the proposed changes, and has issued a complaint to the EC moaning that the changes could fail to restore competition in the search market.

"Google is keen to portray the commission's acceptance of its proposals as a fait accompli," Foundem argued. "If the commission were to adopt anything like these proposals, it would kill any hope of re-establishing the level playing field on which competition, innovation, and consumer choice depends."

It added, "We will have to wait for the market test to play out, but, at the moment, we can see no reasonable alternative for the commission other than to reject the proposals."

German online mapping service Hotmaps isn't pleased with Google's proposed changes either. "The suggestion to let rivals bid and pay for special 'rival links' is unacceptable. If Google has anti-competitively harmed rivals by demotion and self-preferencing, it needs to remedy the damage done and not be paid to do so," it said in a complaint.

We asked David Pann, GM of Microsoft Search today about his views on Google's proposed changes, but he said he was unable to comment.

Google was not immediately available for comment. µ


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