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European Commission wants Google antitrust reponse in January

The Commission and Google have 'substantially reduced' their differences in how to address concerns

The European Commission has given Google a January deadline to respond to the European competition agency's concerns over alleged antitrust behavior by the company.

The commission expects Google to "come forward with a detailed commitment text" addressing antitrust concerns in January, Joaquín Almunia, the EC's vice president for competition, said in a statement. Alumina met Tuesday with Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, in Brussels.

The EC and Google have "substantially reduced our differences regarding possible ways to address" four competition concerns voiced by the commission, Almunia said.

The commission launched an antitrust investigation of Google in November 2010. Discussions with Google to resolve the commission's concerns began in July.

The commission's concerns include the way Google displays the search results of companies that offer competing services and exclusive agreements for the delivery of Google search advertisements on other websites.

After Google responds in January, the commission will issue a response that could be the basis for formal commitments from the company, Almunia said.

Google, in a statement, said it continues to work cooperatively with the European Commission.

In a statement, Fair Search, a coalition of companies critical of Google, praised the commission "for seeking to extract a binding set of commitments from Google to end biased search results and other potential legal violations he has identified, and to submit that proposal for market testing before determining if it resolves Google's abuse of dominance in Europe."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.


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