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Google Search proposed concessions rubberstamped by EU

Google could change the way it displays search engine results to settle a long standing dispute with the European Union [EU] over the ease at which customers can see results from Google’s rival in web searches.

The concessions, proposed by Google last month, help to address antitrust concerns held by the European Commission and are enough to satisfy those concerns.

"We have reached a key moment in this case. Now with the significant improvements on the table, I think we have the possibility to work again. I think that the settlement route remains the best choice,” Competition Commission Joaquin Almunia told Reuters.

Almunia added that a decision on the case is likely to be made next Spring and will follow the Commission asking for feedback on Google’s plans from the companies that lodged the original complaint.

Almunia stopped short of laying out the exact details of the concessions but did state that users would find it easier to see competing services in Google’s results regardless of the device being used.

In addition competitors will find it more simple to opt out of appearing in searches after it had been pointed out that Google showed too much content from competitors that persuaded customers against visiting the sites in question.

The EU’s antitrust case against Google has been rumbling on since November 2010 and involves over 12 companies, including Microsoft, British price comparison site Foundem and German mapping firm Hotmaps.

Google general counsel Kent Walker issued a further statement that even though competition was already high it was still making the concessions.

"While competition online is thriving, we've made the difficult decision to agree to their requirements in the interests of reaching a settlement," Walker said.

Google, which has always denied any wrongdoing, could face a fine of up to 10 per cent of its global revenue, or $5 billion [£3.08 billion], if it’s unable to resolve the case and the latest round of proposed concessions look to have done the trick.