A PYMNTS Company

EU: Almunia rethinks Google settlement

 |  May 20, 2014

Just days after European Commissioner Joaquin Almunia remarked that he was “pretty sure” about his settlement with Google, reports say the competition chief could be reconsidering the case.

Google and Almunia reached a tentative settlement last February to the criticism of Google rivals, consumer advocates, and even other European Commissioners. Regulators had been investigating Google for several years regarding allegations the company abused its market dominance in the way it displays rivals’ links and other matters.

The February deal reportedly included an agreement that Google would alter the way it displays those links. The company was facing fines as high as $5 billion.

Critics said the deal was insufficient at addressing competition concerns, but Almunia seemed steadfast at preserving the settlement and ending the case, likely looking to close the matter before his term at the Commission ends later this year.

Now, however, Almunia has reportedly said he may take a closer look at the settlement and possible take a tougher stance against the company, though reports say it was uncertain whether he would actually reconsider the settlement deal.

The Commissioner indicated that he would still like to settle with Google, reports say, though continues to face increasing skepticism over the deal as German and French officials vocalize their opposition to the company’s market dominance, which is as high as 90 percent of the online search market in some jurisdictions.

But Almunia did recognize the criticism Tuesday, telling reporters that “if, because of the arguments of the complaints, we consider that the proposals that we have on the table are not enough, we will need to decide on the next steps.”

He added that he would decide after the summer break whether to send formal charges to Google.

Full content: NYTimes

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.