Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, told Spanish radio that the latest offer by the world’s largest search engine was “not acceptable” and failed to address concerns that it may discriminate against rivals in its search results.
David Wood, a lawyer for a group of Google rivals, said Almunia’s comments showed that the EU should abandon attempts to settle with Google and send the company a formal complaint.
According to my Sunday Times, which is a paywall so no link (sorry), Almunia is a bit p*iss*d off with Google.
He leant over backwards to give Google every chance and what did they come up with, a system where 'invited' companies were to get the chance to 'bid' for top positions.
What Google missed is that Almunia is a Competition Commissioner, and the key word here is 'competition', so devising a scheme that was even less competitive for European countries was probably not a good idea.
On top of that Almunia has to weight up all the French and Italian vocal objections to tax avoidance and IP issues.
The article gave Google a few weeks at most to avoid a potential 10% of turnover fine.
12:55 pm on Jan 7, 2014 (gmt 0)
What will frighten Google much more is the privacy issue.
Google has built it's business around the system of finding out lots of data about visitors and sending them targeted ads. Europe doesn't like that one bit.
Our own major ISP British Telecom tried using a similar technique some time ago in collaboration with Phorm. They were told in no uncertain terms to stop it forthwith.
2014 promises to be an interesting year for Google. Our competition and privacy people are like the Mills of God, they grind exceedingly slowly but exceedingly fine.