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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9012
JPY
USD
122.90
GBP
USD
0.6400
CAD
USD
1.2582
INR
USD
63.438

Rates may not be current.