Google addressed the ongoing antitrust probe it has been facing in Europe again this morning, highlighting the latest version of its concessions with hopes to “move forward”.
Google says it will give links to rival sites “much more real estate and visibility,” include rival sites’ logos with these links for “even greater prominence, and accompany the links with dynamic text from rivals providing more info about their sites.
Google SVP and General Counsel Kent Walker writes in a blog post, “We’ve worked closely with a knowledgeable and professional team at the Commission to deliver just that. Users will be presented with alternative specialized search options right in the middle of some of the most valuable and prominent space on our search page. It is hard to see how anybody could reasonably claim that this will not offer users choice.”
“These weren’t easy concessions to make,” Walker continued. “Within Google, many asked why we would agree to such unprecedented and far-reaching changes to our continuously evolving search results. But we didn’t want to spend a decade fighting over these issues. We wanted to move forward, letting our engineers continue to do what they do best: building products that help users in their everyday lives.”
As Walker notes, Google will never satisfy some critics, “especially those with a professional and financial interest in impeding a successful competitor rather than helping users.”
“Some in the anti-Google camp have lobbied for remedies that would help themselves at a cost to consumers,” Walker wrote. “Others have worked to prolong the process to keep us in regulatory limbo, filing new complaints timed to disrupt our settlement negotiations. These complainants continue to recycle claims with no basis in law or fact, while failing to present constructive or realistic suggestions that would benefit consumers.”
It all still comes down to whether or not the Commission accepts Google’s concessions. A few weeks ago, the European Commission asked Google’s competitors and other third-parties to review Google’s revised proposal. It was reported that the commission reached out to as many as 125 companies to provide feedback.
Google hopes to avoid a $5 billion fine with its proposals.