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EU regulator wants opinions from Google competitors

European Union [EU] regulators have asked various companies for feedback on concessions offered by Google in an antitrust case related to search engine results.

The latest set of proposals put forward by Google were rubberstamped by the EU earlier this month and the search engine’s competitors will now be given a chance to respond to the proposals put forward by Google.

"The Commission is sending today information requests," Antoine Colombani, the Commission spokesman for competition policy, said in an email to Reuters. "Information is sought, in particular, from complainants in the ongoing proceedings and from all those who responded to the initial market test of Google's proposals which the Commission launched in April.”

The new proposals will allow competing services to be displayed more easily in Google’s results regardless of the device the results are being shown on. Google will also make it easier for competitors to opt out of appearing in search results as Google showing too much information meant customers didn’t visit the sites in question. It has also agreed to assign an independent trustee to oversee the process.

The case dates back to November 2010 and was brought by over 12 companies including Microsoft, German maps site Hotmaps, UK comparison site Foundem, and travel specialists Expedia.

Competitors declined the first list of proposals put forward by Google back in July in which it was claimed Google wasn’t doing enough to address the concerns identified by competitors when the case was first brought.

Google, which denies doing anything wrong, will be subject to a fine of up to 10 per cent of its global revenue if a resolution cannot be reached, which would make them liable to a fine of around $5 billion [£3 billion].

A final decision on the case will be made next Spring and the feedback given by the competitors will form an integral part of how it ends up.