Google Close to Resolving EU Antitrust Probe

6:46 AM PST 07/25/2012 by Eriq Gardner
Google's Santa Monica headquarters.

The European Commission's head of competition says talks with the web giant about concessions have advanced to technical stage.

Google is closing in on settling charges made by the European Commission over the way it allegedly favors its own products on the company's dominant search engine.

Joaquín Almunia, currently the head of competition on the commission, announced that a "good level of understanding" has been reached with Google to address its antitrust concerns.

A deal could head off an expensive court case that would raise the possibility of billions of dollars in fines for Google as well as potentially lead the way to a similar deal in the U.S. with the FTC, which has also been investigating the web giant.

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For more than a year, some businesses from shopping-comparison site Foundem to large giants like Microsoft have pushed the EU to get tough on Google.

In May, Almunia outlined his concerns on Google's practices, including the way it ranked its own services versus rivals on search engines such as Google Shopping, the way it allegedly "scraped" restaurant and travel reviews from competitor websites, and restrictions on rival advertisers attempting to use Google's platform.

In response, Google offered consessions, which were viewed favorably by the European Commission.

Now, according to Almunia, the talks have moved onto the technical details of implementing a possible settlement.

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