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European Commission

Joaquín Almunia

Vice President of the European Commission responsible for Competition Policy

Statement by Vice President Almunia on the Google investigation

18 December 2012

"After meeting Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, today in Brussels, I have decided to continue with the process towards reaching an agreement based on Article 9 of the EU Antitrust regulation.

Since our preliminary talks with Google started in July, we have substantially reduced our differences regarding possible ways to address each of the four competition concerns expressed by the Commission.

These concerns relate to:

  • - the way in which Google's vertical search services are displayed within general search results as compared to services of competitors;

  • - the way Google may use and display third party content on its vertical search services;

  • - exclusivity agreements for the delivery of Google search advertisements on other websites; and

  • - restrictions in the portability of AdWords advertising campaigns.

On the basis of the progress made, I now expect Google to come forward with a detailed commitment text in January 2013.

We will then prepare a Preliminary Assessment formally setting out our concerns. The Preliminary Assessment would serve as a basis for Google to present formal commitments which would then be market-tested, leading to a possible decision with binding commitments. "

Background:

The Commission launched an antitrust investigation into allegations that Google had abused a dominant market position in November 2010 (see IP /10/1624). In May 2012, Vice President Joaquín Almunia set out the four competition concerns identified by the Commission in the context of this investigation (see SPEECH/12/372). Discussions then started in July 2012 on the basis of first proposals by Google.


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