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EU Offers Google "Last Chance" to Avoid Fine for Manipulating Search Results

EU Offers Google "Last Chance" to Avoid Fine for Manipulating Search Results

The European Union has given Google a "last chance" to avoid being charged over the manipulation of its search results.

Google has been under investigation by the European Commission since November 2010 after its competitors complained that the search engine giant was fixing search results in order to promote its own services and demoting those of their rivals.

If Google are found to have breached EU roles, they could potentially be fined up to 10 per cent of their global advertising revenue, which currently stands at a whopping $485billion.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has written to Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt to respond with initial proposals for reform in "a matter of weeks."

Almunia said: "Google has repeatedly expressed to me its willingness to discuss any concerns that the Commission might have without having to engage in adversarial proceedings. This is why I'm giving Google an opportunity to offer remedies to address concerns that we have identified."

The antitrust investigation into Google's activities would be closed if they responded to the EU within the deadline, and Almunia stated that the EU are just as keen to avoid lengthy investigations as Google are, due to the constant advances in technology.

He said: "I believe that these fast-moving markets would particularly benefit from a quick resolution of the competition issues identified. Restoring competition swiftly to the benefit of users at an early stage is always better than lengthy proceedings."

Google would do well to respond to the EU's demands within the proposed time period, so as to avoid a dragged-on investigation which could affect its advertising revenue as it puts off potential investors. However, even without this investigation, Google remains under the EU spotlight thanks to fresh complaints regarding its Android mobile operating system.

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