Google faces the prospect of large fines imposed by regulators, not to mention a prolonged legal proceeding. But reports circulated today to the effect that discussions about a potential settlement may bring to a close the Commission's year-and-a-half investigation of the company's business practices.
A representative said Google had no comment on potential violations of EU competition and consumer-protection laws. "We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission," the spokesman said. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and six state attorneys general are also investigating Google's business practices for potential violations of U.S. antitrust and consumer-protection laws.
Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, EU Antitrust Chief Joaquin Almunia said that "a good degree of understanding between Google and the Commission," had been reached and that "hopefully in the coming days or weeks we will have the first technical meeting" to clinch a deal.
Separately, the Financial Times reports that Google offered to "make significant changes to its business practices."
On May 21, Almunia informed Google in a letter that it had concerns about the company's business practices. Then last month, he gave Google a July deadline to find a resolution. Otherwise, he said, the EU would launch a formal antitrust complaint.