Thursday

19th Jan 2017

Focus

Google given July deadline by EU anti-trust chief

  • EU Competition chief Joaquin Almunia has set a July deadline for search-engine Google. (Photo: European Commission)

EU competition boss Joaquin Almunia Friday (8 June) confirmed that Google has until early July to put in place changes to its business practices to avoid formal sanctions resulting from an anti-trust investigation into the company.

In a speech at the International Competition Law Forum in Switzerland, Commissioner Almunia said he wanted to give the search-engine, which holds a web market share of between 90-95% in the EU, the “opportunity to offer remedy proposals that would avoid lengthy proceedings. But he added: “By early July, I expect to receive from Google concrete signs of their willingness to explore this route.”

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

If Google ignores the deadline or presents reforms deem unsatisfactory by the EU executive, Almunia warned that “formal proceedings will continue through the adoption of a Statement of Objections.”

The commissioner noted that “users and competitors would greatly benefit from a quick resolution of the case.”

Almunia also revealed that he had sent a letter to Google on 21 May stating that the Commission’s 18 month investigation indicated that Google had unfairly favoured its own search services and products against other rivals.

Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, maintains that the company disagrees with the Commission assessment. Speaking two weeks ago at the search-engine’s Big Tent conference in the UK, Schmidt said that he was prepared to meet with the Commission but that “we disagree with any violation in general.”

The Google case threatens to be the largest single EU anti-trust case in years. Under EU Competition policy the Commission has the power to demand fines of up to 10 percent of a company’s annual turnover. Google’s revealed annual turnover figures of $485 billion for 2011. Rival software giant Microsoft has faced the largest EU anti-trust fine to date.

Meanwhile, Almunia added that the EU expects to rake in hundreds of millions in anti-trust fines. Telling delegates that the Commission levied €614 million in fines from anti-trust cases in 2011, a reduction from €2.9 billion in the previous year, the Commissioner said that he expected the figure to “pick up again this year and in the more distant future.”

News in Brief

  1. Outgoing US vice-president warns Europe on Russia
  2. German far-right party calls for end to WWII guilt
  3. First Chinese freight train arrives in Europe
  4. Europe has no vision, says Italian minister
  5. Juncker has 'slight doubts' on his group's convention idea
  6. EU parliament spat changes nothing, says Juncker
  7. German elections likely on 24 September
  8. Maltese PM announces plan for Brexit summit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  2. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  4. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  5. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  6. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  7. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  8. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  9. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  10. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhDs Across Europe on the Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU - Apply Now!
  12. Dialogue PlatformInterview: Fethullah Gulen Condemns Assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey

Latest News

  1. EP deal could help Tusk keep Council job
  2. UN struggles to monitor fate of readmitted Syrians in Turkey
  3. European space chief: Moon village is 'more or less a fact'
  4. May's speech was not a war declaration, Malta says
  5. EU must find backbone to survive in Trump's world
  6. Moldova turns from EU to Russia
  7. Kerry to EU: Believe in yourself
  8. EU parliament swerves right with Tajani's election