Google needs to give the European Union more concessions to duck huge monetary fines that are related to how the company runs its online search operations, according to this week’s media reports.
These comments are the first time that EU authorities have stated that a deal that Google offered this year to settle issues about competition are not good enough.
This places the burden upon Google to deal with the concerns of rivals that the company’s rankings benefit the marketing of its own services.
The EU competition minister stated that he concluded that the proposals from Google are not enough to deal with his concerns. He did not give a deadline for Google to come up with more, but he said that the case could go for months more.
The European Commission opened an inquiry into the search giant three years ago because of worries that the firm was abusing its commanding search position. Google earlier in 2013 promised to alter its practices in some search categories. It hoped to settle the case and to avoid an antitrust situation that could linger for years.
Google, which is changing up its Analytics interface, wants to complete a deal in Europe that will cause as little disruption to its ad and search business, which is what accounts for most of the firm’s revenues. It also wants to duck a 10% fine of global revenue, or up to $50 billion, as well as a finding of wrong doing, which could limit how it does business in Europe.
Google, said this week that it will work with the EU to finish up the case, as it works to make more changes to its Google+ platform.
As of today, Google dominates the search market in Europe, with about 90% share in some countries. It has about 70% in the US.
One of the big concessions from Google was that it would provide links to the sites of its competitors that offer specialized types of services. If Google was selling ads next to search results for industries including hotels and restaurants, Google promised to give a menu of 3 search results not related to Google services.
Some competitors want Google to be forced to put their own sites on top of search results, but it not clear at this point what the final solution to this issue will be.