Sun, Jan 06, 2013 - Page 13 News List

US’ Google probe has no bearing on EU: commission

AFP, BRUSSELS

The decision by US authorities to close down an 18-month anti-trust investigation into Internet giant Google Inc has no bearing on what the EU would do with its own probe, the European Commission said on Friday.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said on Thursday that it lacked a legal basis to bring a case against Google for allegedly abusing its dominance in Internet searches, but that it had won commitments from the company to end its “most troubling” practices.

The European Commission has “taken note of the FTC decision,” a spokesman said, adding that Brussels did not believe “this has any direct implication [for] our investigation.”

The spokesman said discussions with Google were ongoing.

Last month, EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Brussels would seek an agreement with Google after the two sides had made progress in resolving EU anti-trust concerns in talks since July.

Almunia said he expected the company to come up with a series of measures this month, which would then be assessed.

The EU launched its investigation in November 2010 following a complaint by several companies, including Ciao, owned by Microsoft Corp, which added its own charge in early 2011.

If found at fault in an EU anti-trust case, a firm can face a fine of up to 10 percent of its sales.

Critics say Google controls about 70 percent of the Internet search market — and the advertising that goes along with it — and may exert even more power in the mobile sector by controlling the Android operating system used on two-thirds of smartphones.

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