EU urges Google do more to answer competition concerns

BRUSSELS - The EU's top anti-trust official Joaquin Almunia said Wednesday he wants Internet giant Google to do more to remedy concerns it is abusing its dominant position in the search market.

EU Competition Commissioner Almunia said that after reviewing market reaction to Google's latest proposals, "I concluded that (they) ... were not enough to meet our concerns."

Accordingly, he had written to Google chief Eric Schmidt "to demand that Google improve its proposals or provide us" with new ones, Almunia said.

The Commissioner has said that an anti-trust deal with Google could be reached by the end of this year if EU demands were met, depending on the company's response.

The European Commission has identified four main areas of concern, chief among them that Google favours results linked to the company's specialised services, such as surveys of restaurants or hotels.

To remedy that issue, Google has proposed to make users clearly aware when they are being directed to another Google service for a period of five years. Brussels launched its investigation of Google in November 2010 following a complaint by several companies, including Microsoft.

A company found at fault in an EU anti-trust probe can face fines of up to 10 percent of its total annual sales.