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FairSearch Applauds Almunia For Seeking Binding Commitments From Google

The following is a statement from FairSearch on the European Commission’s investigation of Google:

“FairSearch applauds European Commission Vice President Joaquín Almunia for seeking to extract a binding set of commitments from Google to end biased search results and other potential legal violations he has identified, and to submit that proposal for market testing before determining if it resolves Google’s abuse of dominance in Europe where the company controls 93 percent of search. This is in contrast to reports suggesting that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission may be willing to accept a voluntary commitment from Google instead of a binding consent decree that is subject to public comment to ensure any proposed remedies are effective at restoring competition in online services.”

Today, Almunia released a statement about the EC’s investigation of Google’s business, indicating that based on the concerns he has previously identified about the legality of (in Almunia’s own words, based on a report from Mlex):

“- 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.”