Brussels: Google will have to change the way it presents search results or face anti-trust charges for favouring its own services, the European Union’s (EU) competition chief told the Financial Times.
EU competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia was quoted as saying by the British daily that he had concerns over “the way they present their own services” and feared “there is an abuse of this dominant position” the company holds in Internet searches.
Earlier this month the US Federal Trade Commission said it lacked a legal basis to bring a case against Google for allegedly abusing its dominance in Internet searches, but that it had won commitments from the company to end its “most troubling” practices.
EU launched its investigation of Google in November 2010 following a complaint by several companies, including Ciao, owned by US software giant Microsoft Corp., which added its own charge in early 2011.
EU competition authorities have expressed concern over how results from Google’s specialist search services in areas such as travel are displayed within general search results as compared to services of competitors.
EU authorities signalled last month they will seek to reach a deal with Google after considerable progress was made in talks with the company under way since July.
Google is due to submit this month detailed proposals to satisfy EU concerns and avoid anti-trust charges and a possible fine.
If found at fault in an EU anti-trust case, a company can face a fine of up to 10% of its sales.
Critics say Google controls some 70% of the Internet search market—and the advertising that goes along with it.