EU to continue seeking Google anti-trust accord: Almunia

The European Union will continue to seek an accord with Internet search giant Google as progress has been made in resolving EU anti-trust concerns, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Tuesday.

Almunia said he made the decision after meeting Google head Eric Schmidt in Brussels as "we have substantially reduced our differences regarding possible ways to address" EU competition concerns since talks began in July.

"On the basis of the progress made, I now expect Google to come forward with a detailed commitment text in January 2013," he said in a statement.

This text will then be used as the basis to firm up measures Google should take which will "then be market-tested, leading to a possible decision with binding commitments."

The EU listed four areas of concern regarding Google:

- how its vertical search services are displayed within general search results as compared to services of competitors;

- how Google may use and display third party content on its vertical search services;

- exclusivity agreements for the delivery of Google search advertisements on other websites;

- restrictions in the portability of AdWords advertising campaigns.

The Commission launched an anti-trust investigation into allegations that Google had abused a dominant market position in November 2010.

The EU announcement came after reports that US regulators were also likely to conclude a lengthy anti-trust probe of Google's dominance of Internet searches with a voluntary settlement.

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