graeme_p - 6:25 am on Sep 21, 2012 (gmt 0)
I find the way in which it is presented interesting. It is distinct from organic search results, and looks more like the ads, but is distinct from them as well. The ads have a coloured background, this has a box around it and both have a little "i" more information icon.
I think this will probably satisfy the EU that it is not favouring their own products in search rankings, because it is not part of the SERPS: they are giving them selves a free ad.
Affiliate sites do need to worry about this. If your model is Google -> your site -> affiliate link, Google has an incentive to dis-intermediate this to Google -> affiliate link. Those with lots of unique content (or have some other way of adding value) are in a much better position.