|By Maureen O'Gara||
|April 26, 2013 08:30 AM EDT||
Google's proposal to the European Commission to resolve the long-standing antitrust charges against its vertical search activities involves labeling or setting off its own services to distinguish them from rival specialized search engines and showing links "to three rival specialized search services close to its own" for the next five years.
Its proposal includes giving newspaper publishers more control over how their content is displayed. Google has also agreed to an independent monitor.
Critics say they need to see how the suggestions would be implemented. They have a month to get back to the EC.
If acceptable - and it seems likely there will be pushback - the deal could be cut by September and Google would escape without the kind of massive fines imposed on Microsoft for abusing its dominance.
Google allegedly promoted its own services over others' in its rankings to stifle competition; ripped off content; and restricted online advertising.
The remedies would also allow specialized search websites "to mark certain categories of information in such a way that such information is not indexed or used by Google."
Google claims it took a year for it to develop this proposal. It will only apply to Europe, where Google has over 90% market share in so-called horizontal; search.
See http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-371_en.htm for the EC's announcement Thursday.
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