Google forges a deal to resolve EU’s anti-competitive search claims

In an effort to avoid hefty fines from the European Union, Google has issued a proposal today to satisfy accusations that the search giant’s business practices are anti-competitive.

The EU first opened up an investigation on Google’s business practices in November 2010 after rival companies like Microsoft accused it of abusing its dominant position in the search market to boost its own advertising services. The EU sent Google a final warning to resolve the matter back in May.

Today Google Chairman Eric Schmidt sent a proposal letter to EU Antitrust commissioner Joaquín Almunia that addresses four main concerns regarding Google’s search business. Specifically, the things that Google is under fire for include: giving preferential treatment to its search engine within results, using reviews/ratings of competitors without explicit attribution, and making it difficult for its AdWords advertising partners to transfer their ads to advertising competitors.

Some of these antitrust claims are rather weak (and others not so much), but Google has a hefty incentive to hammer out an agreement with the EU. If it doesn’t reach a deal that’s favorable with the European body, it could face a fine of up to 10 percent of its global financial turnover.

We’ve reached out to Google for further comment and will update this post with any new information.

via Reuters; Photo via Vepar5 /Shutterstock