Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Google must start to negotiate on remedies to protect competition or face potentially heavy fines. He told a conference that he expected to receive from Google concrete signs of their willingness to explore this route by early July.
The deadline will bring the first stage of the European antitrust authorities investigation to a close. If Google does not negotiate, regulators will issue a formal “statement of objections” in response to complaints by more than a dozen rivals, who claimed it abuses its dominant position in general web to promote its own secondary services such as price comparison, he said.
Almunia added that if the negotiations go pear shaped formal proceedings will continue through the adoption of a statement of objections. After the statement of objections, the Commission could impose fines of up to 10 per cent of Google global revenues, which were $37.9bn in 2011. This could go a long way to sorting out Greece’s debt problems
Almunia believed that users and competitors would greatly benefit from a quick resolution of the case. Recent signals from Google have suggested it is in no mood to back down which could make things a lot more expensive.