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EU considering Google proposal to dodge $5 billion fine

Google has submitted a new proposal to the European Commission, offering further concessions in an effort to avoid the biggest fine the EUC has ever threatened to give out: $5 billion. In it, Google offers to make it easier for advertisers to switch between search engines and for consumers to be given a link to competitors’ results.

The reason Google is in such hot water, is because it stands accused of anti-trust violations, including the blocking search results of rivals like Microsoft, Expedia and several price comparison sites like Twenga and Foundem. These companies pushed the EU commission to investigate and have now been brought on board as consultants in the case.

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“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,” FairSearch lawyer Thomas Vinje said in a statement.

So far the Commission has not commented on Google’s proposal, merely stating that it had received it and was currently assessing its merits.

KitGuru Says: With a share of the search market that borders on a monopoly (as much as 80 per cent of all searches go through Google), it’s no surprise that public watch dogs like the EUC are keeping such a close eye on Google, but do you guys think it should be forced to provide links to competitors? Or perhaps this is just an ass covering measure because it’s been found with its hand in the cookie jar? What do you guys reckon?

[Thanks Reuters]

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