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Google could be close to anti-trust settlement with EU regulators

A three-year anti-trust probe into Google by European Union regulators is coming to an end, according to unnamed sources speaking to Reuters.

The outcome will potentially see Google avoid a fine of up to $5 billion (£3 billion), equivalent to 10 per cent of its 2012 revenue.

The search engine giant has been accused of abusing its position as Europe's largest search engine, promoting search results that are in its own interests.

A complaint was issued in 2010 by smaller companies claiming that Google was demoting them in search results in favour of its own services that were in direct competition with these companies.

Related: Google and EU locked in antitrust deliberations

Google is by far the most dominant search engine in Europe, accounting for over 90 per cent of all online search queries.

Earlier this month Google was given an ultimatum by Joaquin Almunia, the head of the European Commission's antitrust unit.

Almunia told the search engine giant that it had one "last opportunity" to sort out the accusations brought against it.

The ultimatum followed the rejection of two separate proposals from Google to address the complaints.

An anonymous EU official talking to Reuters has reportedly said that Google's latest proposal was "much better".

The source claims it contains commitments from the search engine to treat rivals more equally and make it easier for advertisers to switch campaigns to rivals like Yahoo and Bing.

According to the official, feedback from the 125 rivals would not be sought by the EU, as the two previous market tests had given a clear idea of their position.