THE EUROPEAN UNION COMPETITION COMMISSIONER Joaquín Almunia has told a Spanish radio station that Google's efforts to end its antitrust case need more work.
Almunia's office has confirmed his comments to us, and provided us with an official translation. The minister said Google has made some moves, but not the right ones.
"The latest offer as submitted by Google in October, following the series of consultations that we have carried out with more than 100 interlocutors – those who submitted complaints against Google, the relevant participants in the sector and a lot of other people," he said.
"The latest proposals are not acceptable in the sense that they are not proposals that can eliminate our concerns regarding competition and in particular regarding the way Google's rivals in vertical search – search for products and price comparison, restaurants, etc – are being treated."
The minister was asked whether there would be any sanctions taken against the firm. He said that he could not rule them out in the future.
"No, no, no. At this moment there is little time left, but the ball is still in Google's court. But within a short timeframe, the ball will then be here and then it will be the moment to take decisions."
We have asked Google for a comment on the system and the antitrust case. So far it has not replied. When we have asked it for a statement on the minister's advances in the past it has always responded with a firm "no comment".
It bucked that trend, and in a statement told us that, "We've made significant changes to address the EC's concerns, greatly increasing the visibility of rival services and addressing other specific issues." µ