European Union (EU) watchdogs are not happy with Google. The latest proposals received by the European authorities did not appease the concession demands and now Google may be forced to pay the piper with massive fines.
The European Union competition commissioner, Joaquín Alumina stated, “I concluded that the proposals that Google sent to us months ago are not enough to overcome our concerns.” The commissioner has responded to Google “asking Google to present better proposals or improved proposals.”
So, what concessions is the European Union demanding? Accusations from the European Commission states after a three-year long investigation, the regulation agency determined Google was blocking competitors in search engine results, and instead promoted their own content and products. The fine, if Google doesn’t provide sufficient proposals can be as high as $5 billion dollars.
Although, Alumnia has not issued a specific deadline, it has been hinted the commissioner wants this solved by the end of the year. In the most recent proposal to the European Union, Google offered the following concessions:
- Marking its own products down the search results
- Offer to link to three competitors site
- Allows an easier path for advertisers to move to rival platforms
The EU is not impressed. They stated much of the concessions offered seems to only bolster Google products. Google’s spokesman Al Verney begrudgingly agreed to continue to work with the EU to resolve the demand. “Our proposal to the European Commission clearly addresses the four areas of concern,” he said.
The EU is also working with Google’s competitors who sided with the commission on the aspect of the concessions only improving Google in the search results. The preferential treatment is considered unethical business practices and highly regulated in Europe. The EU referred to Google Maps or Google News as the only options presented for much of the results, instead of other companies and their products.
Google must feel inner turmoil as they analyze their next steps. Disappointing the EU not only means stiff fines but Europe encompasses 90 percent of the Internet search market dominance. In the United States, Google holds a mere 70 percent in Internet search market.
The commissioner also wants to eventually work to the way Google handles ads next to their search results and content from other websites. The EU sees a concern on how its actions can affect advertising on rival networks. The homework assignment has been given.
An anti-trust battle is something Google doesn’t want step into. That is already a hostile field Microsoft entangled into with the EU. The EU fined the Windows giant a staggering $731 million for failing to offer European users of its software a choice of which Internet browser to use.
The European Commission has take a hard-line approached with other United States tech companies and earlier this year Google just settled with the Federal Trade Commission, yet no concessions were made. It seems the commissioner is not easily settling. If Google doesn’t respond to the requests for concessions as demanded by the EU, swift action can be initiated. The Commission can file a lawsuit against the tech giant and create a legal battle mess that can tie up assets. Google will gather with their advisers to determine the next path and try to avoid a suit.