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September 5, 2014

Competitors Express Concerns Over Google, EU Deal

Microsoft, German Publishers Say Competition Won't Be Restored

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Photo Credit: meneame comunicacions, sl via flickr

It appears a final push to influence European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is underway in regards to an antitrust deal with Google.

Microsoft-logoMicrosoft, the German publishing industry and others have all weighed in on the potential deal between in the Internet giant and the European Union. The deal was announced earlier this year after a three-year investigation into Google practices.

The deal would see Google competitors’ search services displayed more prominently when people search for things such as hotels and shopping, The New York Times reported. However, those very rivals are saying the deal will still do very little to ensure fair competition in Europe.

Whether the proposed deal is accepted or handed over to the commission’s next leader – Almunia is stepping aside in October – remains to be determined.

A press conference Thursday, though, illuminated competitors’ feelings toward the situation.

Jean-Yves Art, director of competition law at Microsoft, said there are concerns over Google’s contractual curbs with advertisers. They could make it difficult for them to switch to different online services, Reuters reported.

“The proposals don’t cure or eliminate all restrictions that we and rivals see. There are still restrictions preventing them from providing interoperability,” Art said.

Those concerns, and others expressed by competitors, are no longer sticking points according to a Google spokesperson.

“We’ve co-operated fully with the European Commission’s investigation over the last four years. Our proposal addresses all of the EC’s concerns, and greatly increases the visibility of rival services,” said Al Verney.


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.