Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has submitted a proposal to European Commission Vice President Joaquin Almunia in an attempt to avoid antitrust violation fines that could amount to 10 percent of the search engine giant`s annual revenue.
The contents of Schmidt`s letter to Almunia were not made public. But the search engine giant said in a statement that it has proposed remedies to the four potential violations of the European Union`s antitrust and consumer protection laws that the European Commission outlined in May.
According to Almunia, European regulators would prefer to resolve its antitrust concerns with Google as soon as possible. The goal is to avoid a lengthy legal process comparable to the one in which Microsoft was ultimately forced to pay a $1.1 billion fine after losing its final appeal of an EC antitrust ruling last month.
Almunia noted that Google has repeatedly expressed its willingness to discuss any concerns that the EC might have without having to engage in adversarial proceedings. "Restoring competition swiftly to the benefit of users at an early stage is always preferable to lengthy proceedings, although these sometimes become indispensable to competition enforcement," Almunia said.
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According to Web metric firm StatCounter, Google currently holds a 93.9 percent share of the European search market. Last May, the European Commission outlined four areas in which it believes Google`s business practices may be considered as abuses of the search engine giant`s market dominance.
With respect to users looking to obtain general search results on the Web, Google displays links to its own vertical search services -- specialized search engines which focus on specific topics.
"Google displays links to its own vertical search services differently than it does for links to competitors," Almunia said. "We are concerned that this may result in preferential treatment compared...
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