After the European Commission threatens Google with a $5 billion fine, the latter has finally agreed to change the way it displays competitors’ links in search results. The tech giant is reported to have stricken a deal with the EU regulator, which would end a 3-year antitrust probe, and avoided a $5 billion fine. Google will have to stick to the deal for 5 years.
Google may still face another EU investigation concerning its Android OS for smartphones. By the way, the new case could get the company into a bigger mess. The current case has been a subject of EC investigation into its online search practices since November 2010, after lots of tech giants, including Microsoft, complained. A few attempts to resolve the case failed because Google kept insisting it had not violates any rules.
Of course, not all parties are happy with the recent deal. For example, European Commission claimed they would accept Google’s concessions without consulting the complainants, and those may be furious about it.
Lobby groups counting Microsoft and 4 other complainants among their members claimed that without a 3rd-party review, European Commission risked having the wool pulled over his eyes by the search giant. In the meantime, German online mapping services company announced it had given up on the EC and is going to take its grievance to the courts, because Google’s concessions would still leave many questions open.
Industry experts point out that Google’s success in escaping financial sanctions mirrors a similar outcome in the US in 2013, where the tech giant received just a mild reprimand from the FTC.