EU probes Google for further ad concessions

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EU probes Google for further ad concessions

Antitrust investigation rolls on.

European Union regulators investigating Google for alleged anti-competitive behaviour have called for the company to offer further concessions on where and how it changes its search rankings.

The search giant had sought to resolve an 18-month antitrust investigation into its search engine rankings by offering concessions to the way it handled search results.

Neither Google nor the EU have said what those concessions were, but reports suggest concerns related to Google favouring its own services in search results, copying content from other websites — such as travel and restaurant reviews — without permission, shutting out competition through advertising agreements, and restricting advertisers from transitioning to rival engines.

But sources Reuters spoke to this month said the EU wanted further concessions covering all platforms including computers, tablets and mobile devices.

If Google is not able to provide satisfactory concessions, it will face charges and potentially severe fines according to Joaquin Almunia, the EU's competition commissioner.

Almunia wants remedies for all computing devices that have access to the internet and provide a search capability, one of the people said.

The European Commission is currently examining Google's offer of concessions.

Companies can be fined up to ten percent of their turnover for breaching EU rules. In Google's case, that could reach $US4 billion based on its 2011 results.

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