News / Economy

EU Official: Google Deal is No 'Gentlemen's Agreement'

European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 20, 2014.
European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia during a news conference at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 20, 2014.
Reuters
The EU antitrust chief defended a deal with Google over how it displays web search results, following criticism from rival firms and his own colleagues, saying there had been no gentlemen's agreement to close the case.
 
The world's most popular search engine has been under investigation for three years by the European Commission, which acts as the bloc's antitrust regulator, over complaints it was blocking competitors in search results.
 
More than a dozen companies, including Microsoft, price comparison site Foundem and online mapping company Hotmaps, have accused it of squeezing them out of the market.
 
Earlier this month, Google agreed to make concessions to display rivals' links more prominently, hoping to end a case that could have led to a fine of up to $5 billion (3.6 billion euros).
 
European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said last week he would accept Google's proposals, calling them significant concessions which had allayed competition concerns.
 
However rival firms said the plans did not go far enough and would only entrench Google's dominance of Internet searches. And sources told Reuters a third of the members of the European Commission also opposed the deal, underlining the political sensitivity of the matter.
 
Almunia brushed aside the criticism.  “I have also 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,” he told a Concurrences Journal conference on Thursday.
 
He said an independent trustee would monitor Google to ensure that there would not be any anti-competitive practices.
 
Logos
 
Almunia still needs the majority of his fellow commissioners to push through the deal, but said he welcomed the criticism. “It is logical. There are 28 commissioners, each having his own views. It is good that each one can share his views,” he said.
 
It was the third attempt by the world's most popular Internet search engine to settle the investigation. Its first two attempts to resolve the case failed.
 
Under its latest proposals, Google, which has a 75 percent share of the European search market according to consultancy comScore, will let three rivals display their logos and web links in a prominent box, and content providers will be able to decide what material Google can use for its own services.
 
Google will also scrap restrictions that prevent advertisers from moving their campaigns to rival platforms such as Yahoo!'s search tool and Microsoft's Bing.
 
The company must stick to the deal for the next five years.
 
Almunia, however, said Google continues to be under regulatory scrutiny over its Android operating system for smartphones. “We are in the process of investigating Android in the next few weeks,” he said.
 
Google gives away Android for free. The software, which is available on three out of four smartphones sold worldwide, essentially helps the company extend its core search business and boost its usage in the mobile world.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.