Google antitrust case finally comes to an end
A settlement has finally been reached in the long-running antitrust case against Google in Europe, following the conclusion of a similar case in the US in January 2013.
The final statement from the European Commission states that: "According to the report, "Google will escape fines or any finding by regulators that it may have discriminated against competing search sites." This is an identical conclusion to the case in the United States, where Google also escaped financial punishment.
Google was accused of promoting their own products in search results, while punishing sites from their competitors with unfair rankings. However, in an official statement from the European Commission, Google has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the four areas of concern which had previously been raised.
Will anything change?
While full details are yet to emerge of the settlement and how Google will be forced to ensure neutrality, it appears that the company will remain under scrutiny, despite avoiding punishment in this case.
Part of the official statement reads:
" The Commission will in the coming period inform the complainants in this case of the reasons why it believes Google's offer is capable of addressing the Commission's concerns. The complainants will then have the opportunity to make their views known to the Commission before the Commission takes a final decision on whether to make Google's commitments legally binding on Google."
This suggests that the companies who made complaints against Google will be offered a final opportunity to challenge the ruling. While this is a big relief for the market leading search engine, there may be another twist to come in this long-running case.
Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, commented: "Google will certainly be pleased with this ruling and avoiding a financial penalty, but it will not be until the complainants have had a chance to respond that we know for sure that this matter has been put to bed".