Google under investigation by European Union, might change Android as part of settlement agreement

Since 2010 Google has been under investigation by the European Union’s Competition Commission for Google’s alleged anti-competitive behavior in regards to displaying search results and advertisements. It is reported Google is close to coming to a settlement agreement with the Competition Commission but there is a new twist to the story — the EU wants to include Android as part of the settlement.

You see third-parties allege Google favors its own pages in the search results it delivers to users (i.e. Google displays links to its own services before displaying links to competing services). There have also been complaints about how Google handles ads that are displayed in search results and allegation Google prevents advertisers from displaying ads on other networks. As such, the EU’s Competition Commission started an investigation into these allegations back in 2010. More specifically, according to the BBC, the EU has been looking at four areas:

  • how Google favours its own services in its search results
  • how it displays content from other websites
  • how it manages ads appearing next to search results
  • how its actions affect marketers’ ability to buy ads on rival networks

If Google is found guilty of the charges, it could face a fine of up to $4 billion.

It was reported earlier this month that Google wrote a letter to the Competition Commission suggesting ways it would change its search engine, as a way to appease everyone and potentially avoid any legal action. There are no specific details on what Google suggested but reports are now emerging the Competition Commission also wants to include Android as part of the settlement. In other words, the EU wants Google search and advertisement changes to be reflected in Android, too. There aren’t any details on exactly what changes the EU is asking for in Android but the changes are likely along the same lines as what Google proposed for traditional computers.

According to the Financial Times, if Google does not accept competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia’s demand to extend the changes to Android, then the Competition Commission is likely to proceed with legal action as early as next week.

[via BBC (1), BBC (2) | Image credit: manfrys]

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2 comments

  1. Kraal

    You know…I’m tried of hearing companies getting in trouble for not advertising other companies as prominently as themselves, if it all. I’ve sent customers to rival businesses before if I couldn’t provide what they were looking for. But I’m not going to spend much, if any, effort telling people about how rival businesses are so cool and that they should go there instead. Unless I actually believe that.

    I’m not sure what to think of the second two bullet points, they aren’t explained at all. That last point, however, calls for looking into.