Google has been told to make yet more search concessions in order to appease the European Commission’s (EC) concerns that it abuses its dominant market position.
Joaquin Almunia, vice president for the EC responsible for Competition Policy, confirmed that the EC had sent a new list of complaints to Google based on feedback from the search concessions it received in February this year.
“Some of the 20 formal complainants have given us fresh evidence and solid arguments against several aspects of the latest proposals put forward by Google,” he said.
“At the beginning of the month, I have communicated this to the company asking them to improve its proposals. We now need to see if Google can address these issues and allay our concerns.”
This marked a change in stance after the EC had originally accepted Google's third round of concessions. But others, such as European publishers, voiced their fears that the concessions would not improve anything. They appear to have convinced the EU more is needed from Google.
Almunia warned that if Google did not do enough to meet its concerns it could face being issued with a Statement of Objections. This sets outs its concerns with Google’s position and is the final step before the possibility of a fine.
These fines can be up to 10 percent of a company's annual worldwide turnover, which for Google would be a whopping $5.5bn based on its $55bn turnover from its 2013 financial year.
Thomas Vinje, spokesman and counsel of FairSearch Europe, which has been a vocal critic of Google, said that the EC should have taken stronger action against the company already.
Google has had three chances already to come up with a solution, more than any other company. It is past time to issue a Statement of Objections,” he said.
Google said it was prepared to work with the EC. "We continue to work with the European Commission to resolve their concerns," the firm said.
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