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EU: Almunia on the defense about Google

 |  February 23, 2014

In response to a flurry of criticism over European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia’s decision to accept concessions offered by Google to end a three-year investigation into the company, reports say Almunia is going on the defensive.

In a statement late last week, Almunia said that he has “heard people say that the Commission has entered a gentlemen’s agreement with Google which would lead to a way of dropping the charges or closing the file. Not at all.”

The competition chief defended his decision with the agreement that a third-party monitor would be watching Google to ensure compliance with the settlement.

The statements were made at a Concurrences Journal conference last Thursday, say reports.

Almunia controversially accepted Google’s third offer to end the investigation; two earlier proposals were rejected following market tests.

This time, Google rivals, MEPs and even several European Commissioners have questioned Almunia’s judgment in accepting the latest round of concessions without a market test.

Google has been under investigation by the European Commission regarding complaints the company is abusing its dominant position in the online search industry. The company has offered to alter the way it displays rivals’ search results, among other settlements.

While Almunia has approved of the offer, the majority of Commissioners still need to approve as well.

Full Content: Reuters

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