The Internet search giant, Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) has been warned by EU for facing formal charges that could go up to $6 billion if it fails to solve the conflict of giving equal prominence to rival search engines. The dispute has been running long since 2010, when the rivals like British price-comparison site Foundem, complained about the way Google displayed results.
Joaquin Almunia, the Europe competition commissioner told in a European Parliament hearing, “We have received complaints on the possible diversion of internet traffic toward Google services which are not search services, so this is a possible third investigation concerning Google.” He blames the company is accused of abusing its dominant position in Europe, where it accounts for 90% of search traffic. Google spokesman, Al Verney responded to the accusations, “We continue to work with the European Commission to resolve their concerns.”
Google suggested a deal in February to agree to reserve space near the top of its European search pages for competitors, which would be open to rivals to bid for via an auction, but was finally rejected after 20 formal complaints. “Some of the 20 formal complainants have given us fresh evidence and solid arguments against several aspects of the latest proposals put forward by Google,” Almunia spoke on Tuesday, and continued, “We now need to see if Google can address these issues and allay our concerns.”
Almunia, scheduled to retire from services by the end of October, didn’t provide any further details on the matter. There is a probability that he will leave the case to his successor Margrethe Vestager. But it has been warned by Almunia that if Google doesn’t show up with an impressive set of proposals, the next logical step would be to issue a statement of objection.