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Google offers new concessions to head off EC competition fine


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Google offers new concessions to head off EC competition fine

Google is moving to try to avoid a hefty fine from European competition regulators.

Brussels is considering fining the search engine company $5 billion (3.8 billion euros) after accusing it of blocking competitors and favoured its own services in web search results.

Now Google has made an offer of concessions which it hopes will satisfy the regulators, but neither side will say publically what those concessions are.

“The Commission received a proposal from Google and is assessing it,” EU Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said. He did not provide details nor say if rivals would be given a chance to assess the concessions.

“Our proposal to the European Commission addresses their four areas of concern. We continue to work with the Commission to settle this case,” Google spokesman Al Verney said.

The rivals who complained about Google said that after a previous “inadequate” offer they want the Commission to get their feedback on whether the latest concessions would be enough.

“Given the failure of Google to make a serious offer last time around, we believe it is necessary that customers and competitors of Google be consulted in a full, second market test,” Thomas Vinje, a lawyer for FairSearch said in a statement.

FairSearch is a lobbying group whose members include Microsoft and other complainants such as online travel agency Expedia, British price comparison site Foundem and France’s Twenga.

The EU executive body believes Google may have favoured its own search services over those of rivals and copied travel and restaurant reviews from competing sites without permission.

It is also concerned the company may have put restrictions on advertisers and advertising to prevent them from moving their online campaigns to competing search engines.

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