Google makes new settlement offer to appease EU regulators

It’s been a busy day for the EU’s antitrust regulators. After announcing a browser choice-related investigation into Microsoft, the Competition Commissioner now has to contend with Google’s updated settlement offer in the EU’s antitrust investigation of the search giant’s business practices, the Financial Times has reported.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia earlier this year pointed out four concerns related to Google’s business practices that needed to be addressed, including whether its search engine promotes its own services over those of competitors and whether the company re-uses content, like restaurant and business reviews, from other sites without authorisation.

In May, Almunia gave the company a July deadline to defend itself in the investigation or face charges and, likely, a hefty fine. Google tendered its official response early in July, in the form of a letter written by chairman Eric Schmidt.

This latest settlement offer comes after Almunia requested clarifications on certain points within the letter, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.

Antitrust regulators will reportedly decide within two weeks whether to accept Google’s concessions or whether to proceed with an official statement of objections with regards to the company’s alleged anticompetitive behaviour.

A penalty of up to 10 per cent of its annual income could be levied against the company, which could mean a fine of almost $4 billion (£2.5 billion) of the $37.9 billion (£24 billion) it raked in in 2011.

Google’s spokesperson has insisted that the company will continue to cooperate with the EU.